Familial Focus (Mark 3:20-21;31-35)

Familial Focus (Mark 3:20-21,31-35)


Mark 3:20-21,31-35

I want to begin with a question to think on:

Who makes up the family of God?

Last week we began observing this text. Within the greater context His enemies have already plotted to destroy Him, because of His teaching, power, and authority. Jesus, however, is persevering in spite of the persecution He faces.

Here, we see Christ has returned to Capernaum. Again, a massive crowd has assembled to see Him. Again, confrontation arises among the crowd. As we see in this text there are two fronts of opposition to Christ’s ministry:

1.) His own family.

2.) The scribes from Jerusalem.

Now we have already discussed the scribe’s accusation, which prompted Jesus to teach about the reality of the unforgiveable sin. If you are joining us you can watch that on our YouTube channel, or obtain the notes. I do, however, want to remind us the unforgivable sin is not committed unknowingly, accidently or carelessly, but with the fullest of intentions. Believers incapable of committing it!

This morning we are going to look at His family’s claim and the action they seek to take. We will then discuss Jesus’ response to the crowd.

So, a couple questions should be answered today:

Why would they making such a claim? What does Jesus mean with His response?

Let’s read the text:

Mark 3:20-21

20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”

Mark records right away the opposition Jesus faces when He returns home:

Mark 3:21a

21When His own people heard of this…”

It was mentioned last week, but we need to remind ourselves this is speaking about His family.

What does His family want to do with Him?

Mark 3:21b

21…they went out to take custody of Him…”

When we look at the original Greek it should not be understood they want to arrest Him, but rather to take hold of Him and remove Him from the scene.

What reason do they provide for wanting to detain their own flesh and blood, Jesus Christ?

Mark 3:21c

21…for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’”

He is not thinking clearly! The Greek reads Existemi, meaning to throw out of position or displace.[1] It implies metaphorically a person who is out of their mind, or beside themselves. This word is used 17 times in the New Testament. 15 times it is translated in regards to one’s amazement or astonishment at Christ’s power. So, Christ’s power and authority displaced and threw out of position the minds of those watching. It blew them away!

The demonstration of Christ’s power validates both Who He is and the message He proclaims! So He is doing these works that put the minds of the people besides themselves in astonishment, but at the same time He is said to be out of His.

Since His power and authority cannot be denied, why does His family declare Him to be insane?

First, let’s get this question of the table:

Is His family guilty of the unpardonable sin? No!

Unlike the scribes, they are not making any claim about the source of His power and authority. Their claim is related to the mindset of Christ.

Could they potentially be blaspheming Christ? Yes, but as the text reveals that is deemed forgivable by Jesus Christ, Himself.

I believe for us to understand why they make this claim we need to consider a certain text: John 9. John 7:13 tells us no one would speak openly of Jesus for fear of the Jews and John 9 will show why. Within this text we are going to be presented with the turmoil experienced for associating with Christ. John here shows Jesus has just given sight to a man born blind and this man is now being grilled by the religious leaders as to who healed him.

John 9:13-34

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind.14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”28 They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.”

Anyone associating with Christ was being put out of the synagogue. Imagine what that meant for Jesus’ family.

Why would His family make such a claim?

I believe there are a couple of motives:

1.) To protect themselves.

Here is their flesh and blood opposing the man-made tradition they were all raised in and live by. Christ ministry not only confused them, but it also brought serious turmoil into their lives.

If the Pharisees are going to put an acquaintance of Christ out of the synagogue, what do we think they will strive to do with His family? Put them out as well!

So, we see His family distancing themselves from Jesus’ actions by claiming, “He has lost His senses!”

This brings us to the second motive:

2.) To protect Jesus.

It would have been known that Jesus had enemies because of His ministry. In order to save Christ from them they strive to take hold of Him while insisting He is beside Himself and does not really know what He is doing.

Ÿ “Don’t hurt Him, He is insane!”

Ÿ “No sane person would oppose tradition!”

By claiming Christ is out of His mind:

1.) They verbally distance themselves from His ministry alleviating turmoil turned upon them.

2.) At the same time they seek to protect Him by giving a seemingly logical explanation as to why Jesus would blatantly defy the established system.

After all, Christ was combating and dismantling the entire self-righteous system the leaders upheld. Their entire way of life was being challenged by the long awaited Messiah. Jesus Christ demonstrates His message and their message are incompatible. The religious leaders hated Him for it! He was declaring, “You may be born of Abraham and you may look to Moses, but you are not of God!”

It is within this text our initial question is going to be answered:

Q.) Who makes up the family of God?

The stage is being set here for Jesus to make a profound theological statement.

Let’s read the text:

Mark 3:31-32

31 Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.”

As we recall, the multitude that has gathered is so great they are not even able to eat bread. So, when Jesus’ family arrives they are unable to get to Him. Many believe Jesus’ step father Joseph has passed.

His family coming out to Him would consist of His mother Mary, half-brothers: James, Joses, Judas, and Simon, and at least two sisters.[2] At this point His brothers do not believe Him,[3] but they will after His resurrection.[4] Matthew records the family was requesting to speak with Him.[5]

Again, what do they want to do? Take hold of Him, because He is “insane”.

You can almost sense the gentle approach Jesus’ family wants to take in detaining Him; however, for them to succeed in detaining Christ from ministering to the crowds is to succeed in detaining Christ from the cross. The Conflict must occur!

It is through the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God that this conflict will send the Christ to be nailed to the cross.

Consider Christ’s interaction with Peter after He speaks about His death, burial and resurrection:

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.32 He spoke plainly about this and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’”[6]

What does Peter want to do? Protect Jesus!

Mark 3:33-34

33 Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

It does not seem like much at first, but Christ just dropped a theological bombshell. His physical family is standing on the outside, but on the inside is a mixed group of believers. He is not downplaying His physical family, but elevating the everlasting one.

Christ reveals two things about His true family:

1.) Physical birth is incapable of making you part of it.

2.) God’s will is the only focus within it.

In order to be part of the family of God you must be born again. In order to be born again you must put your faith in the finished work of Christ.

This faith is not blind or illogical, rather it is the polar opposite: It is exercised with the purest of sight and strictest of logic.

The Christian faith rightly understands there is One good and Holy God. In His holiness He is set apart from His creation in power, knowledge and time. In His holiness He is set apart from all of humanity who has sinned against Him. Since He is good He must judge sin with the penalty being His divine wrath and eternal death thrust upon the guilty sinner.

The One good and Holy God will carry this out, because He is good! In His goodness justice will be satisfied. For the One good and Holy God to show mercy to sinful humanity He must still execute justice, because He is good. Wrath and death must still be meted out!

How then is the One good and just Holy God able to save sinful humanity? He gave His only Son!

In love His only Son emptied Himself stepping down from His throne and becoming a man.[7]

In love His only Son endured the cross for the joy set before Him.[8]

In love His only Son willingly took upon Himself humanities sin, though He knew none.

In love His only Son received the penalty we deserved as our sins were laid upon Him.

In love the Father turned His back on His only Son laden with our sins.

In love the Father poured out His wrath towards us on His only Son and judged our sin.

In love the Son rendered Himself as an offering and bled and died the death we deserve.

In love God demonstrated His offering was acceptable by raising Him from the dead.

In love the One good and holy God will forgive anyone who looks to His Son’s work on the cross. Trusting in Christ’s work alone!

In love God will not only forgive them, but He will adopt them as sons and daughters since they are now clothed in His only Son’s righteousness. He makes them part of His family!

There is only one way into Christ’s family, and it is through Him alone!

In all reality it is a branchless family tree!

What is the evidence you are a member of Christ’s everlasting family?

What is the evidence God is your only focus? You do the will of God!

You live by every breathe that proceeds from Him. All Scripture is God breathed.[9]

Notice Jesus does not say:

1.) “Whoever knows the will of God.”

2.) “Whoever speaks the will of God.”

He says, “Whoever does the will of God.”

Do we allow Christ to reign in our lives through His written Word?

What a wonderful indictment for the family of God to be charged with being too Word focused.

Jesus’ words ring true:

34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”[10]

As God’s family is established controversy arise within the earthly one:

1.) When we live according to the will of God through His word we will be declared insane!

2.) When we live according to Christ alone families will be divided!

Why does this happen?

Mankind hates the light of the gospel as it shines in their dark hearts. We must press on in the truth as our Savior did! With pure motives Christ’s family sought to seize Him, but their minds were not set on God!

If our minds are not set on Him, we to are incapable of carrying out His will. If our minds are not set on the things above they are set on the things of the earth. Christ’s family is called to have eternal mindsets and not earthly ones, because eternal minds carry out the true will of God:

1.) Eternal minds refuse to be conformed by the things of this world.

2.) Eternal minds have a proper understanding of their reality in Christ.

Colossians 3:1-4

1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”


[1] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 1839

[2] Mark 6:3

[3] John 7:5

[4] Acts 1:12-14

[5] Matthew 12:46

[6] Mark 8:31-33

[7] Philippians 2:6-8

[8] Hebrews 12:2

[9] 2 Timothy 3:16

[10] Matthew 10:34-36

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