February 8, 2011: Mark 3:31-35; Heb 2:10-11; Rom 8:15-18; Gal 6:9-10; Eph 3:14-15; 1 Tim 3:14-15

Submitted by Gina Han, Gracepoint Davis

Mark 3:31-35

In the Mark text, Jesus draws new lines around the idea of “family”.  What is Jesus expressing here about the ties that bond a human family, and the bond among his disciples?

Jesus is saying that the bond he has with his disciples is even stronger than the bond of a human family. He says that whoever does God’s will is his brother and sister and mother.

How is this reordering of human relationships around Jesus consistent with the Gospel?

If a relationship with God the Father is the most important relationship someone can have, it makes sense that those who are also sons of God the Father are those that you will align yourself with, share your life with, be accountable to, and love with concrete loyalty and sacrifice.

For whom would this redrawing of the boundary of family be comforting news?  For whom would it be unwelcome?

This would be comforting for those who have known a broken family, in which instead of love and security, there was strife and anger and hurt; who know that even family, who are supposed to be the ones to love and protect you, can let you down. For those even with a good family background, who know their sinfulness, their tendencies to want to indulge in the coziness and comfort of just a nuclear family, who know that even these good things and relationships can become a curse and idol when not submitted under the lordship of Christ, and who know that they need the church, people to be accountable to with their struggles, so that they could even build up their family to honor and glorify God in the way that it was meant to by being truly a place of love and peace and forgiveness, through which an open home and family could also draw others to experience the love of God – they would also welcome this. This would be unwelcome news for those who want to make their own circle of their nuclear family the center of their lives, even at the expense of doing God’s will and opening up their lives to be in open community with those outside just their own nuclear family.

I’ve always dreamed of having the perfect family, and for some time, I strove after this as the thing that would give me happiness. But when I surrendered my life to Christ, it was through the realization that because I was a sinner, whatever beautiful thing God gave me, if God was not the Lord over it, in my own sin and pride, I would end up ruining it and sabotaging it, and needed God to save me from myself. Without the commitment and love of my church family, who love me and are committed to me, to raise me in Christ, with whom I share a calling and vision to live out God’s will, I can only shudder to think of how my life, and even my family, would look, when I am not striving daily to obey God’s will with the encouragement, love and guidance of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Because of this, and because I know I am a sinner, and need God every moment, I welcome this redrawing of the boundary lines of family, because it’s not just me and my nuclear family left to fend for ourselves in this world on our own strength that quickly runs dry, but because of the thrill and joy of doing God’s will together with His church, I can experience “a hundred times as much in this present age” (Mark 10), even in terms of family, with hundreds of brothers and sisters in Jesus, and be able to raise my own family according to God’s perfect design when I am striving to do His will.

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