Family life is hard because people are hard. Jesus’s family was hard too. In Mark 3:20-21, 31-35, we see how Jesus responds to his family, and learn from Him what the family means in God’s kingdom and how we should live toward them.
1. Jesus Offends Family Values
In Mark 3:21, Jesus’s family showed how difficult they could be. Their family values are offended by Jesus. This is because the earthly family is 1) Natural, 2) Exclusive, and 3) Fragile. Jesus offends our family values, but 4) the shock is a wake up call. We may be tempted to cling to family first and Christ second. But in Matthew 10:34-39, Jesus makes it clear that this is the path of idolatry and death. We need Jesus to redefine the family.
2. Jesus Redefines the Family
This is just what Jesus does in Mark 10:33-35. He helps us see that, in God’s kingdom, the family is 1) Spiritual, 2) Inclusive, and 3) Unassailable. The spiritual family doesn’t mean the natural family is unimportant, however. Rather, through faith in Christ, 4) your family participates in God’s family.
In Christ, we are set free to serve our family all the more. We see this in John 19:26-27 as he spends his precious dying breaths making sure his mother is cared for. Because we have been adopted into God’s family (Galatians 3:26), we carry God’s holiness and Spirit—his presence!—with us into our earthly families. We serve them in service to Christ.
Reflection & Application Questions
- Our earthly families are natural, exclusive, and fragile, and Jesus offends these family values. Which of these values is the most challenging for you to let Jesus offend? Why?
- Why does Jesus offend/shock us? Why do we need the shock?
- In what ways are you tempted to make an idol of your family? Reflect on that question and confess your idolatrous temptation to God.
- Jesus redefines family in God’s kingdom as spiritual, inclusive and unassailable. Which of these is the best news to you today? Take a moment and thank God for this truth!
- What does it mean that your family participates in God’s family? How does your faith in Christ make this real in your family today?
- We are set free by Christ to serve our family in love and sacrifice. What is one way he is calling you to serve your family? How is this difficult on your own? How can you depend on God’s Spirit to empower you for service?