6-1-15 Mom! Make Him Stop!

This week we get a little glimpse into Jesus’ earthly family. Just a glimpse, but enough to suggest they were a lot like other people’s families: swift to pounce when someone steps out of the norm, protective of their reputation. And might we detect a little sibling resentment against the big brother who can do no wrong… literally?

This passage from Mark’s gospel shows Jesus right after he’s begun his public ministry of preaching, healing, casting out demons. Just prior to this, he selects his twelve closest disciples and then, Mark tells us, “He went home.” Home, presumably, was no longer the woodshop in Nazareth where he grew up, but Capernaum, the town where Peter and Andrew lived, where Jesus resided when not on the road.

But sometimes “home” doesn’t get shaken so easily. When Jesus’ family hears about the crowds that form around him everywhere he goes, they think it’s time to do something.

[Then he went home;] and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”

Imagine a parent who goes out to reclaim a son or daughter who’s gotten involved in a cult – and discovers their offspring is the cult leader! It must not have been easy for Jesus’ family to see his activities, the wild things he was saying, the miracles he was working, the lowlifes he was hanging out with, the way he stood up to the religious leaders – it sure looked to them like “he has gone out of his mind.” Perhaps they were so used to seeing him one way, they couldn’t conceive of who he had become.

Whatever their motives, their efforts to quiet him were unsuccessful. In response to being told his mother and brothers were outside, wanting to talk to him, Jesus redefined his family. His words may sound harsh to our sentimental ears, but he was just being clear about priorities for those who claim to be his followers:

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

How do those words make you feel? Where in your hierarchy of vaues is your family - and do they support you getting closer to Jesus, or are they threatened by it?

Are you willing to let people know you are part of Jesus' family, not just a follower, but a brother or sister? Because he said we are now his mother, his brothers, his sisters, whoever does the will of God.

That’s a pretty amazing family to be invited to join. That’s some pretty amazing family values.

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