Friday

“When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’” (v. 21)

Mark 3:20-21 Friday 15 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 11:1-5


Background

The setting of the narrative changes again, moving away from the open countryside and to an episode insidea house or even the home of Jesus and his disciples. However whathasn't changed is that the crowds are still close by, so much sothat Jesus and his close followers are neither given the time noropportunity to eat. Perhaps they'd thought that by going homethey'd be able to find a bit of peace and quiet, with time to restfor a while. But Jesus' popularity meant that there were no placesto get away from the incessant demands of the large number ofpeople who had flocked to the area to see, hear and even touchhim.

Returning home also meant returning to Jesus' family and perhapssome home truths. They were clearly anxious about what they werehearing. The observation that some people thought he had "gone outof his mind" suggests that there was a wider concern about theirlocal man. Maybe they thought he'd been carried along too far onthis wave of popularity that seemed to be sweeping the area;perhaps they held the same traditional views of the religiousteachers and authorities and were surprised, embarrassed and upsetby the conflict that Jesus seemed to be creating, or could they begetting fed up with the impact a big crowd of outsiders was havingon their daily life. Whatever the reason, Jesus' family tried totake action to stop him and to protect him from himself.

We have to wait a few more verses before the encounter with hisfamily is concluded (Mark3:31-35) as the story moves on to another dispute with thereligious authorities (Mark3:22-30). But by interweaving these two incidents, Mark'sGospel appears to be comparing the similarities between the twogroups and demonstrating that in both cases they misunderstand whatJesus is doing. Remarkably neither those closest to Jesus nor thosewith the greatest religious knowledge can be relied upon to see thetruth of his message and actions.


To Ponder

  • How do members of your own family view your religious andspiritual beliefs? Pray for those whose faith brings them in toconflict with their family.
  • In some parts of the world, relatives can physically restrainfamily members who have a mental illness in so-called 'prayerhouses', because they are thought to be demon possessed. Whatshould be done to stop this from happening?


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