Monday, September 17, 2018

Devotional: Jesus’ New Family, Mark 3.13-35

Mark 3.13-35 Outline

Mark 3:13-35 frames a section (22-30) about the source of Jesus’ kingdom and authority within two sections contrasting Jesus’ new kingdom family (13-21) with his biological family (31-35). Jesus was not only creating a new and fulfilled way of worshipping God , but he was also creating a new community to do it. This new community was more than just a group of students and adherents, they were bound together as a new family with a common Father (God) and spiritual ties that were deeper than blood ties and obligations. Jesus names 12 to be his delegated leaders and the nucleus of this new family. First, he renames them to show their new allegiance and connection to him. Then he calls them “apostles” (“sent out ones”) with authority, derived from Jesus, to announce the kingdom gospel and do the same kingdom actions that he was doing. Jesus then widens the extent of this family to all Mark’s readers (v. 35) who hear Jesus’ words and respond by “doing the will of God;” that is they become followers of Jesus. Thus, Jesus’ followers are joined at a deeper level than that of biological ties or blood relations. They are joined as a family at the deepest level, the spiritual level. Followers of Jesus are joined because God is their Father, Jesus is their brother, and believers are now brothers and sisters. Now, in this new age, this family relation with all other believers supersedes all other relationships and all other allegiances.

Of course this brought opposition from Jesus’ biological family and from the religious leaders of his day. When anyone says, I am God and I am creating a new “forever family of God” here on earth,” it is an understandable reaction to say, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21 ESV).  That is, unless the one who is saying it has been healing diseases, raising the dead, and defeating the forces of darkness with just his authoritative word. The religious leaders recognized the supernatural power behind Jesus; words and actions, but they attributed it to the powers of evil and darkness. Jesus countered their point with the logical argument that Satan, and the principalities and powers aligned with him, do not fight against their own kingdom. If Satan, the “strong man,” and his kingdom are being defeated this is a sure sign that God and his kingdom are doing it. The religious leaders were failing to see reality as their own scriptures described it, as Jesus’s words described it, and as his actions proved it. To fail to see things as Jesus describes and demonstrates them is to separate oneself from God  and commit a sin with eternal ramifications, unless one repents. The Jewish leaders and Jesus’ own biological family, in their failure to believe him, were separating themselves from God and his blessings despite his presence right there with them.

This brings up two applicational questions. Do we see the way things are according to Jesus’ view (and his view sees the whole picture) or according to our own view of reality? Faith, and its growth is directly related to knowing, through his Spirit, Jesus, and his calling for our lives and becoming more like him. Second, do we place our allegiance to Jesus and his family as the priority and order all of our other allegiances around this primary relationship? This is what it means to follow Jesus.

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