June 10, 2018 - May Truth Be Spoken Though The Mountains May Fall

Jesus came home with his disciples. Again, the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder the house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness but is guilty of an everlasting sin." For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you." But he said to them in reply, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Mark 3:20-35

I invite you to ignore the second of the three paragraphs of this week’s Gospel reading, which I have italicized.

Maybe it’s not a big deal, but that omission reveals something I, for one, have never noticed before. In the passages before this week’s Gospel, Jesus had to flee by boat to avoid being crushed by the adoring crowd. In the first paragraph of today’s Gospel, the crowd had found him again in his home (this is the only reference I am aware of that implies Jesus has a home) and is closing in so closely, he can hardly find room to eat.

His family (his family!) has an interesting opposite reaction: they decide he has lost his mind!  The lawyers agree. They set out for Jesus’ house.

In the paragraph I have asked you to ignore, Jesus tries to convince his disciples that he is not crazy. 

Finally, in the third paragraph, Jesus is told his family has arrived and that they are calling for him.   Remember, his relatives set out to confront him – to do an intervention - to stop him from his crazy preaching.  Every time I have read this paragraph previously, I have thought Jesus was being oblique, somewhat cold-hearted and a little over-zealous. But it now appears to me Jesus was simply dismissing his family's authority to silence him and strongly affirming his teaching in the face of their rejection.  He personifies the term Kierkegaard used to describe Abraham: a Knight of Faith.