Running With Mark 24

Day Twenty-Four – January 21, 2020  

Read: Mark 3:31-35 New Revised Standard Version

Today’s reading is very short, and very confusing! 

Jesus’ mother, sisters and brothers, are outside asking for him.  It’s pretty clear that they do not understand who Jesus is and what he is about.  How can we blame them?  Mary had given birth to him.  His siblings had grown up with him. 
Mark 3:20 tells us that his family had gone to Capernaum to get him. The NRSV says they have come to “restrain him”.  The NIV says they came to “take charge of him”.  Why, because they think he is “out of his mind”.


We can understand their confusion.  Here was this guy they had grown up with.  He is telling people he has the authority to forgive sins.  He is debating with the religious leaders.  He is hanging out with fishermen, tax collectors and sinners.  It’s been reported to his family that he is casting out unclean spirits and healing people.  It’s hard for them to fathom.

Imagine their surprise when they confront Jesus and he says to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Family was everything in that culture.  Multiple generations of family often lived under the same roof.  Caring for one’s parents was a strong culturally held value.  Refusal to care for one’s family would have been a cultural taboo.


Jesus says that “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

God is starting a new family; a family made up of not of biological family, but of spiritual family, and this family will extend out into the world receiving any who would follow Jesus. 

St. Paul, in Galatians 3:28 paints a picture of this new family when he says, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”


Interesting theological tidbit for today – the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary was a perpetual virgin, in other words, she did not have a normal marital relationship with Joseph, and therefore would not have had other children.  The “sisters and brothers” mentioned they believe are cousins of Jesus, or that they were half-siblings because they were Joseph’s children.  To learn more about the Catholic understanding of the family of Jesus click on this link Did Mary Have Other Children?


Questions to ponder:

  • What would it have been like to be Jesus’ sister or brother? Do you think they were ever embarrassed by him or jealous of him? 
  • Mary sometimes lost her patience with him, as when he stayed in the temple in Jerusalem when he was 12 years old, instead of traveling home with his extended family.
  • Did Jesus hit a growth spurt like most teenagers? Was he always hungry?  Did he get acne?
  • At what age do you think Jesus understood who he was? A toddler? A boy? A teen? a man?


Visual Liturgy:





We Are Family by Sister Sledge  (going old school here!)

No Longer Slaves by Brian Johnson Joel Case Jonathan David Helser



Prayer Focus:

Family relationships


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins