Chapter 12

Two families 
Mark 3:31-35 (NIV)

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31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

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Mark 3:31-32
Our natural family

We met Jesus’ natural family in verse 21. Now they arrive to take charge of Him because they wrongly think He is out of His mind. His mother and brothers send someone to find Him. Even His godly mother, Mary, now misunderstands her divinely conceived Son.

Like Jesus, we all are born into natural families, however scattered and divided our families may be. Unlike Him, we all have two biological parents. Many also have brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces; whether as full blood relatives, half-blood relatives, or adopted members of our family. From prison to palace, families vary greatly. Some never know their parents or are badly let down, misunderstood, or even abused by them. Others have loyal, caring, providing parents whose love includes much needed balanced discipline. Some are abandoned or ignored by family members. Others, who are supported and encouraged, have great confidence that their families appreciate and know them well.

Whatever our family experience, God expects from us the highest moral conduct, faithfulness and, when possible, loving care and support for family members. This includes husbands and wives, parents and children, and brothers and sisters.[1] For example, I should ‘honour’ my parents[2] even if their wrong conduct means I have lost affection and respect for them. That is difficult, but God is at hand to help. The first family member to trust Jesus often influences others who also turn from their sins and come to Him for forgiveness and a wonderful new start.

Mark 3:33-35
Our new family

Jesus, surrounded by a crowd, hears that His mother and brothers have come for Him. He makes people think when He says Who are my mother and brothers? Looking at those nearest to Him—His disciples—He declares that they are His closest family! He then explains that Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.

When Jesus later expresses His loving care for Mary, as He hangs nailed to the cross, we see how close He is to her.[3] But now He speaks of an even closer spiritual and eternal family which does not replace His natural family. Every Christian belongs also to that family. It is wonderful when members of our natural family trust Jesus and become members of our new family in Christ! That’s the best of both worlds! To become a member of God’s new family, with God the Father as our father, God the Son as our Saviour, and God the Spirit as our constant comforter, John 1:12 says that we must receive Christ into our hearts. That part of doing God’s will makes us His blood-bought children, through the sacrifice of Jesus for us. We continue doing His will by living to please God, as He helps and strengthens us. Are you in this new family yet?

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[1] . Colossians 3:18-21.
[2] . Exodus 20:12.
[3] . John 19:26.

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Questions on Chapter 12
Mark 3:31-35 Two families.

A. What privileges are there in belonging to a close and helpful family whose members love and help each other? Matthew 7: 9-10

B. What are the even greater privileges of belonging to God’s family by receiving Jesus Christ as Saviour and becoming a ‘born again’ child of God? John 1:12 Matthew 7: 11 Matthew 6:9-15 John 3:3-8

C. How should a Christian relate both to his or her natural family and to his or her new Christian family? Exodus 20:12 1 John 2:12-14 1 Timothy 5:1-3