Summary: Neither Jesus’ own kin nor the premier theological interpreters of his day could discern the truth about him and his authority to inaugurate the reign of God. Their confusion and skepticism cause them to fall back on labels—“demonic” and “insane”—that betray a lack of imagination and openness. Jesus responds by describing his work as overcoming humanity’s captivity to evil and as forging new familial relationships and identity. He thus declares his intention to bring about wholesale change.
I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.
Stick Around (Mark 3:20-35)
Summary: Once Jesus’ ministry is rolling in the Gospel according to Mark, conflict emerges and dividing lines are drawn. Mark has a way with surprises; Jesus’ own family and religious authorities misunderstand who he is and what he is up to. But crowds of unnamed people remain with him, often doing little more than showing up and following. Jesus appears to welcome their presence, as seen in this scene when he describes a crowd as his true kin and commends them for doing “the will of God.” It appears Jesus is not calling for heroism or perfection. Rather, he seeks recognition. Down the road in Mark he will remind us that discipleship calls for our whole selves. But at this point in the story, being present and sticking around is what he’s looking for. This is good news for all of us, reminding us that faith is not so much about subscribing to doctrine and more about attaching oneself to Jesus and his efforts to bring the reign of God to fruition.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Mark 3:20-35. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
Bible commentary: general audience
discipleship family following gospel of mark inclusion insiders jesus kingdom of god scribes will of God