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Jesus Lost His Family Too


R. S. Martin

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Jeus lost his family, too.

 

I suspect what appears in Mark 3:21 and 22 is a sanitized version of what really happened.

 

Jesus is shown as being calm and in control of the situation. Yet according to Mark, his family went out to restrain hm because the neighbours were saying he was out of his mind, and the scribes--the preachers--were saying he was casting out "Beelzebub" or evil spirits "by the ruler of the demons" (Mark 3:21, 22).

 

Jesus' saying about the divided house was probably not uttered in a serene setting in the shade of an awning with his disciples lounging at his feet. That for the best part of his public life he was estranged from his family, rejected in his hometown, and living in Capernaum indicates that something significant happened.

After all, Jesus was the guy who at the age of twelve years had out-witted the top profs--or high priests--at the Temple in Jerusalem. What man with his level of intelligence could at the age of thirty be confined to the drugery of a carpenter shop with it's miserly measurements and tight-fisted businessmen? With Jesus' eye for business as well as for ethics there probably wasn't a shrew in the entire surrounding villages and towns who escaped the sharp wit of his tongue. And he probably didn't stop with a simple rebuke. He's the kind of guy who could go on for hours while he was at it. And with no better entertainment we can easily see people flocking out simply to see him flog another cheater. The problem was, he didn't stop with that. He went on to chastise them for worrying about where their next meal was coming from or for wanting to dress well. Driven as he was by intense enthusiasm and sharp wit there could not have been a person within a hundred mile radius who never felt the lash of his tongue.

He was probably more or less okay at home. Sounds like the family didn't really know he was out of control until they heard it from others. To Jesus that must have felt like the ultimate betrayal. He must have known what others were saying but surely his family knew him well enough not to listen to such gossip. He was, after all, only telling people what they should have known on their own. But, if they were too ignorant to figure things out on their own, then he would not hesitate to educate them.

 

It was rather bothersome that they brought all their sniffling and crippled and drooling family members out with the expectation that he heal them. Who did they think he was--a healer? There were days when he just walked away and went to find another village that needed a bit of educating. (This is based on Mark's account that he actually did this in the name of spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.) I don't think the old carpenter shop saw too much of him those days.

Things probably came to a head on the day that the scibes arrived from Jerusalem with their sinister pronunciation. They said, "He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons."

 

The scribes would not have dirtied their robes and tunics by physically restraining the sweaty ragged back-country maniac but by golly--there were others who would! now that they had this "authority from on high.

I think what happened next was that his brothers descended on him as he was talking to a batch of townsmen, totally oblivious to the pronouncement of the Jerusalem scibes. Oh sure, they had made quite a stir but so what! these people were so dull-witted that they got all starry-eyed just because some slightly less dull-wits arrived from The City.

I think before he knew what was happening his brothers grasped him from behind and charged him with what the scribes had said. And before he could collect his thoughts they probably had him firmly in their grasp. As he struggled and fought to get free he probably gasped between breaths that a house divided against itself cannot stand--exactly by what right did they do this to him? Anyone knew that if Satan cast out Satan--well, that was simply too stupid for words.

His strength was no match for four brothers who were just as strong and virile as he. At last he succombed to exhausion. He meekly went home with them and promised to be a good boy. He probably sneaked out to some wild and lonely spot to take stalk of the situation. After sullenly mulling things over a while he gained some level of serenity. But he wasn't about to repeat this mistake. He knew a back way to this prophet guy who was activating at the Jordan River.

 

Without telling anyone where he was going he went to check out this guy. When he got there, he found out that his name was John and that he was preaching: Repent and be baptized. Jesus was ready for a totally new start in life. He just wanted to be purified from all the dust and filth of the past and start all over with a clean new slate. As he came out of the river after his baptism he felt a deep inner peace, an assurance that he had made the right choice.

 

He soon found a few other guys who didn't know what to do with themselves and who were smarter than the average. They weren't great but they would do. If nothing else, they could act as a body guard next time the scibes turned his brothers and neighbours on him. And none too soon. One day when he was deeply engrossed in teaching the crowds someone said, "Hey dude! your mom and brothers want to talk to you. Better go home!"

 

Enraged he roared, "Who are my mother and brothers? I tell you no one fit for life will listen to his mother and brothers. These people here--they are my mother and brothers and sisters. To hell with the rest of you!"

 

The biblical account says his family couldn't get near him because of the crowd. I think that is how Jesus would have it.

 

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