When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him.
Mark 6:2-3 (NIV)
Read: Mark 6:1-13
Consider: Most of us have probably not questioned or even thought about the disciples knowing Jesus better than anyone while he was on the earth. However, as they only spent three years with him there would be many things about his childhood and upbringing that they would not know firsthand.
We often forget that Jesus had an earthly family. They are not mentioned many times in the Bible, but we do know that he had at least four brothers (James, Joseph, Judas and Simon) and an unnamed number of sisters. I would suggest that as with any family, Jesus’ family would have known him better than anyone, as they would have seen him on a daily basis throughout the years before he commenced his earthly ministry at around the age of thirty. His brothers and sisters, as well as his mother, would have known if he was merely deluded or mad. We know from the Bible that two of Jesus’ brothers wrote letters recorded in the New Testament (James and Jude [Judas]). Over the next few posts we will look firstly at Jude’s letter, then James’, to see how Jesus’ earthly family saw his claims to be the Son of God sent into the world to save sinners.
In Mark 3:31-35 an incident involving Jesus’ family is recorded. Jesus had been preaching to and teaching the crowd, when Mary and his brothers arrived wanting to speak to him. They probably had heard about what had been happening and were concerned for his health and well-being. Jesus’ response to the statement that his mother and brothers were outside wanting to see him is insightful. In Mark 3:33-35 we read that he said: ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle round him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’ (Mark 3:33-35).
Jesus is not showing disrespect for his family; rather he is showing that he thought his spiritual family was very important. His spiritual family being those who do God’s will.
Pray: Father, we know from the Gospels that Jesus was treated badly by those townsfolk who thought they knew him because they knew his family. We also know that some of his earthly family became his followers and would later become leaders in the early church. May our earthy families see Christ in us day-by-day. Amen