The crowds were huge. At one point, Jesus requested to have a boat on standby to avoid being physically crushed by the sheer force of thousands swarming and jamming together around Him. There was no relief and no time to have a bite to eat. His family in Nazareth became alarmed and traveled 40 kilometres to Capernaum to put an end to all of this:

“We just have to intervene. He’s losing it. He’s beside himself. His behaviour is becoming more irrational all the time. We’ll have to go and physically restrain Him and take Him back home for a complete rest, so His mind can be cleared. We must go there immediately.”

At the same time, important people traveled from Jerusalem to check Him out, but they reached a different conclusion. His problem wasn’t insanity – it was far worse! “He is under the control of the ruler of the demons – Beelzebub,” they alleged. Jesus solidly refuted their conclusions by exposing major flaws in their reasoning.

Just then, a message arrived. His family from Nazareth had arrived and stood outside calling: “Jesus, please come out of the house. We need to see you!”  But the crowd was huge, so others tried to get the message into Jesus. “Tell Jesus his family has arrived, and they need to see him right away!”

That’s when Jesus said:

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:33-35

The opposition to hinder and impede the work of Christ was more than obvious as the scribes attacked and accused Him of being empowered by Beelzebub. But then, a more subtle approach to obstruct and slow down the work of Christ appeared in the form of His family. They wanted Him to come home and rest.

Today, we often can stand-up against the obvious and direct attacks of Satan. We deal with such opposition quickly and push forward for the Lord allowing nothing to hold us back. But then family members or friends question us and we squirm. They don’t have to say very much but we know they are looking at us disapprovingly.  We think: “Maybe I shouldn’t get baptised until my family is more supportive. I don’t want to cause an upheaval in our family. It would break my mother’s heart right now. Later, Lord.”

Sadly, for some “Later, Lord” proves to be “Never, Lord.” Is your family or a friend hindering you in your progress for the Lord?

Having said that, sometimes new Christians, in their zeal, can do things that cause unnecessary alienation and hinder the Gospel within a family circle. It could be by unwisely avoiding reunions, holiday get-togethers or even weddings or funerals because of the church the family attends. This is not the teaching of Christ in Mark 3.

No, Jesus was not belittling human family relationships; He was affirming the family of God. Spiritual ties transcend blood lines and family bonds. The natural family takes 2nd place to the family of God. Christ’s true and lasting family consists of those who do the will of God. Doing the will of God starts with acceptance of Christ. On that day, Christ pointed to the disciples who were sitting around Him in a circle and He said words to this effect: “This is my family.”

As much as we enjoy our families, as years go by, the ties that bind become fewer. We move to different locations; we establish our own circle of friends and raise our own families. After a week-long family reunion, we are ready to return to our own homes and our own lives. But not so in the family of God. With each passing year, as we walk in the will of God, the greater our enjoyment of God’s family is, and the sweeter Christ becomes to our heart.

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain
And cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I’m a part of the family
The family of God

You will notice we say “brother and sister” around here
It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near
When one has a heartache we all share the tears
We rejoice in each victory in this family so dear

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King
No longer an outcast, a new song I can sing
From rags to riches, from the weak to the strong
I’m not worthy to be here but thank God I belong

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain
And cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I’m a part of the family
The family of God
(William and Gloria Gaither)

You might be amused (click here) to see the 1968 video of the authors/composers of this song singing their song along with Danny Gaither.  

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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