These questions are meant to be a choose-your-own-adventure. That is, use what you like. Skip what you don’t. And add to it in any way you see fit.
- Who in your extended family has had a big influence on your life? And in what ways?
- If you had to live next door to a family member, who would it be?
- Who in your family is crazy? Why?
The Family Takes Charge
Begin by reading Mark 3.20-21
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
- When we look at just these two verses, this comes across as a rather baffling situation. Why would his family’s response be “He is out of his mind”? (At face value, that seems to be an overreaction.)
The Prince of Demons?
Read Mark 3.22 (Feel free to read 22 through 30. Verse 22, alone, seems to make the point we’re getting at here.)
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.”
- The teachers of the law go one giant step further. It’s not that he’s crazy; he’s possessed. (At this point, this is in the early stages of Jesus becoming a public and well-known figure. The most controversial thing he’s done is heal someone on the Sabbath…which was no small deal…but still… (This is a similar question, but perhaps it’s worth repeating.) Why such an overwhelmingly strong and negative response to Jesus?
- In many scenarios, including this one, Jesus challenged cultural norms and expectations. It’s almost as if it wasn’t on purpose, though, like just being who is was (and is) is enough to get folks hot and bothered. In what other situations in the Gospels do you see this quality of Jesus cause a ruckus?
Who are my brothers?
Read Mark 31-35
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.”
- There is a lot going on here that we tend to miss at first glance. For one, Jesus isn’t doing himself any favors here if he wants to convince his family that he’s okay, that he’s not losing his mind. It’s quite the opposite. This flies in the face of what is deep-seeded and expected within the culture of this time and place. To challenge the determination of what makes someone his mother or brothers…why is that such a big deal?
- In what situations in your own life has God challenged or changed your understanding of relationships? And how has that been difficult? How has that been good?
Read Colossians 3.9-11
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
- It seems as if that in a life spent following Jesus, we will continually find areas where God is giving us the opportunity to change (or renew) or thinking so that we can become more like Jesus. How is God working in your life right now in this way?