Tuesday, 22 July 2014
The Faith Files: Who is our Family?
I was reading Mark 3:22-34 this morning. In this passage the teachers of the law are indignant. They began to say horrible things about Jesus. Things like "He is of Beelzebub" and that he was driving out demons because he was the prince of demons. I don't know how we jumped from calling the disciples and being in a house so crowded he couldn't even eat. Jesus' family called him "out of his mind" just for that little event. That's pretty heavy criticism just for being in a crowded house and preferring people over food. It's one thing, though, to have your family call you crazy. It's entirely another to have people say you are Satan incarnate when in fact you are God. I can't even imagine a deeper, more wounding offense.
Jesus tells these ignorant teachers of the law why he couldn't possibly be Satan. How he would be defeating himself and bringing down his own house if that was indeed who he was? He says, in verse 29, that those who blaspheme against the Spirit (ie. those who call God a follower of Satan, or Satan himself) will have committed an eternal sin; one that cannot be forgiven.
When Jesus' mother and brothers finally arrive at the house they send someone to call Jesus out to them. I always thought this next bit was odd. I didn't understand what was really going on. When told his mother and brothers are looking for him Jesus says "who are my mother and my brothers?" At this point Jesus looks around him at all the people sitting nearby and tells the crowd that it is whoever does the will of God that are his "brother and sister and mother". I think I get this now. This offers up a beautiful picture of identity, for me. I picture family in terms of a little (or sometimes big, as in Dh's case!) huddle of people who would do anything to defend and protect one another. Jesus gives us that identity when he calls us, those who do God's will, his family. And Jesus ended up going to the cross for us, his family.
As I travel through Mark I will no doubt come nose-to-nose with the radical side of Jesus. For now I am wrapped in the knowledge that Jesus calls those who do God's will his family. I can't imagine a more significant place to stand.