Masterclass: The Gospel of Mark

Part 3: The Family of Believers

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Has it ever bothered you that the people who should’ve known Jesus the best seemed to know him the least? That’s definitely the case for his family in Mark chapter 3. People in Jesus‘s hometown exclaimed that he must’ve been crazy or possessed. Those who share your deep seeded beliefs in Christ are really your truest and best family. We all need that kind of family to maintain our walk with Christ. Consider the challenge, though, when those of us who are supposed to know and follow Jesus best, question him and represent him the least. Incredible takeaways this week as we seek to be a people, as part of the family of God, who trust Jesus and live lives that express our faith in him.

People Matter to Jesus

Do you ever feel like God is too busy with everything else going on in the world to be concerned about the problems in your life? Or do you think that, because you’ve done wrong time and time again, He would never find you deserving of His attention?

Many of us grew up in faith traditions which emphasized the importance of rules, rites, and rituals. We may have a tendency to believe that God will only pay us any mind if we do everything just the right way. But when we look at Jesus, we see a God who values people over rules. 

At the start of Mark chapter 3, we hear that Jesus entered a synagogue where a man with a shriveled hand sat. The religious elite saw Him, and waited to see if He would heal the man on the Sabbath day, when men are supposed to rest and reflect on God. Jesus knew their intentions: they wanted to find some way to catch Him in unrighteousness. 

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored (Mark 3:4-5).

Jesus, who is God Himself, has the authority to speak and act on what is true and good. It was the Pharisees’ interpretation of the law which was false: to do good on the Sabbath is not forbidden work. The Pharisees were legalistic about the rules, and missed the greater point behind them. If a rule seems to stop you from loving God or loving His people, you’re probably misunderstanding it! As Jesus says, Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).

So, what does this mean for you and I? We serve a God who creates rules for us not for the sake of rule-making, but for our own good. Ultimately, our God wants us to love Him and one another, because He first loved us. The rules He puts in place are good and just, but at their root is the common purpose of love.

Jesus Sees the Individual

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed (Mark 3:7).

It’s no surprise that someone as amazing as Jesus would draw a crowd. He did miracles and displayed His power to heal! When you see a crowd of people, you probably don’t have time to identify all the individual people in the group. But our God is all-knowing and eternal. Jesus knew the names of every person in that crowd, and their life stories, too. He also knows everything about you, whether you know Him or not. Remember the Parable of The Lost Sheep? Even with 100 sheep, when even one goes missing, our Father would seek out the lost. 

Although Jesus loved them all, the crowds had a different relationship with Jesus than the Disciples. The Disciples followed Him throughout His ministry. Jesus taught them privately, and prepared them to go out to teach others about The Kingdom of God. They shared in the glory of His miracles, but they also suffered the world’s rejection. 

Today, all believers are called to be Disciples of Christ. It’s a call that requires commitment. Being a disciple of Jesus requires repentance, dependence, and engagement. From the crowd, we can admire the power and goodness of God. But Jesus wants more from us and for us. He wants us to step out from the crowd, even though it’s tough, so we can proclaim the Gospel to all who need to hear it. 

The Family of Believers

Did you know that Jesus’ own family thought the things He was doing and saying were crazy? As Jesus defended Himself against the claims of the teachers of the law, we read:

Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

If your own son or brother claimed to be God, you’d probably be skeptical, too! But of course, Jesus backed up His claim throughout His life and ministry. And later, His resurrection confirmed to His family that He indeed is the Son of God.

As Christ-followers, we are never alone — God is with us and we have a family. Regardless of what your relationship with your biological family is like, you have a spiritual family in God’s Church. Remember to treat others well as your brothers and sisters in Christ!


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