Summary: Mark reveals a one to five scale of relationships with Jesus, from his enemies to his selected servants. Do you see yourself in one of these?
Read or recite Mark 3.
In this chapter the opposition against Jesus is mounting. It began in chapter 2 as Jesus broke several traditions that stood in the way of reaching out to the needy and lost.
1. Jesus announced the forgiveness of sins to the paralytic.
2. He had dinner with tax collectors and sinners.
3. He and his disciples didn’t observe the fast days.
But the biggest of all was the last one in chapter 2…
4. He claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath!
It would be a worthwhile study to see how Jesus envisions the meaning of keeping the Sabbath. We can see already that his view and the established view of the religious authorities in his day clash. Over and over in the gospels Jesus gets into conflict with the scribes and Pharisees over the proper application of Sabbath keeping.
Jesus says that they are hypocrites, straining out gnats and swallowing camels, they put stumbling blocks in the way of those who are entering the kingdom of God. They say Jesus is demon possessed, breaking the Sabbath law, making wild claims about himself so much that he deserves to be put to death.
Clearly a polarization is taking shape with Jesus and his followers on one side and the Religious governing authorities and their followers on the other. Jesus still brings us to the valley of decision where we must choose him over all else. What does it take to be on the Lord’s side? Chapter three concludes with these words by Jesus: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
The Lord wants us to be in his family. John again wrote in 1:12 To all who received him, to those who believed on his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
I see several things here in Mark 3 that are astonishing to me. One of them involves how Jesus’ mother and brothers seem to have viewed him at this point in his ministry.
Verse 21 says: When his own people (that would be his family) heard about this, they went out to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” That’s Mary. That’s Jesus own brothers, Mary’s other children. Among them is James, who later we learn became an influential leader in the church and who wrote the book of James.
Have you ever felt misunderstood by those closest to you? Maybe even your own family?
Jenny and I were talking about this. Doesn’t everyone have a longing to be known and understood? Friendship is one of the most precious human relationships. Jenny is my very best friend in the world. But I still have to say that sometimes I don’t understand her. And I know that sometimes, she doesn’t understand me. Friendship isn’t based purely on understanding, but understanding grows within friendship as does appreciation, respect, love and trust.
Look at Jesus. He has got to be the most misunderstood person in the book of Mark. He entered his ministry in a mystical way. The prophets had foretold his coming. The angels announce it. Stars in the heavens reveal it. God sent a special messenger to prepare the way for his coming. Mark tells us: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the son of God. Just as it was written in Isaiah the prophet…
There is something mysterious about it all. Jesus comes and is baptized and heaven opens, the Holy Spirit comes down upon him, and the Father speaks confirming his identity. Immediately he is driven out to the wilderness to face temptation and do battle with Satan, and angels minister to him. Who is this?
He begins doing amazing things and teaching in amazing authority speaking amazing words. He commands even the demons and they obey him.
The people are polarized between those who are attracted to Jesus and those who are deeply offended by him.
But, listen… who in this gospel thus far genuinely understands Jesus? I submit to you that no one fully understands him. What they see and hear from him makes them either want to join with him or oppose him. But every one of them has a limited perspective that shapes their relationship with him.
To the religious leaders, Jesus is a dangerous threat.