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The Family Cannot Understand

Mark 3:20-21
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.' (NIVUK)

Was Jesus going mad?  Stories got back to Nazareth, and Jesus' family, out of concern for Him, came to bring Him back into the protection of their home.  They had heard that demons called Him the Messiah (Mark 1:24), and He preached as if He was the Messiah (Mark 1:38-39).  Huge crowds followed Him everywhere (Mark 3:7-9).  Neither Jesus nor His disciples had time for the usual extended meal times which were part of normal society.  So, His mother and half-siblings (Mark 6:1-6) wrongly thought He was mentally unwell.

There is a time and place to refresh the body and mind, but for Jesus, this was not it.  Theologians had travelled from Jerusalem to 'examine' this new teacher who was being acclaimed as the Messiah.  Perhaps He was demon-possessed, the clerics thought (Mark 3:30).  Jesus was about to teach about His adversarial relationship with Satan - it was a pivotal moment (Mark 3:23-29).  What Jesus was about to say was critically important; the religious leaders needed to listen.  It was vital that the moment was not lost or interrupted.

Throughout the gospel narratives, the sick, disabled, demonised, and even the dead, heard and responded to the Word of God.  But the religious power-holders would not submit to that Word.  The people who should have led the crowds to praise Jesus, first ignored Him, then muttered against Him, then tried to trap Him by argument and then kill Him with stones. Eventually they conspired with the occupation army to have Him crucified.  But the surprise is that His family, including His mother (Mark 3:31-32) were also trying to stop His ministry.  They knew His astonishingly faultless character, but now assumed His insanity and so wanted to remove Him from His anointed work.  Even Mary, who had received the Angel Gabriel's promises with humble joy (Luke 1:46-53), wanted to take control of Her son, and His half-siblings agreed (Mark 6:1-6).

Have you ever noticed that spiritually blind people, including well-meaning family members, try to pull us away from letting Jesus be Lord of the conversation, disrupting the gospel agenda at a critical moment?   They may not understand what they are doing, but they are unconsciously disturbed by anybody openly believing in Jesus or announcing that He really is who He claims to be – God in the flesh, the Saviour of the world.  They mean well, but they are being used to disrupt spiritual ministry.  Unwittingly they are seeking to salvage death from the jaws of life.  Never forget that, as a Christian, you are in a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12).  The shop, hospital, school, workbench and even the home is never spiritually neutral.  You are there to bring glory to Christ, while others are threatened by His Lordship over you and your willingness to give your life to Him.  Be gracious to them but do not be disobedient to Jesus.


Dear Lord. Thank You for showing me that Jesus is Lord, and for giving me the faith to follow Him. Please help me to discern when friends or family, who urge me to rest, are echoing Your voice; or whether their well-intentioned pleas are being used to pull me away from obeying You. Help me to respond graciously and truthfully. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams