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Mark 3:31-35


Intro: I want you to get this scene in your head. Jesus is teaching in the city of Capernaum. He is surrounded by a vast multitude of people. Most of them are there to hear what He has to say because they are fascinated by His message and by His miracles, v. 20. These people are there to hear the Lord.

        Others are there to find fault with Jesus and His words and works, v. 22. The religious leaders have come to hear Jesus and as they listen to what He has to say, they accuse Him of being in league with Satan. These people are there to hinder the Lord.

        There is another group in Capernaum that day. They are called the “friends” of Jesus in verse 21. The word “friends” literally means “kinsmen”. This group is our Lord’s family.

        They have come to Capernaum to rescue Jesus. They haven’t come to rescue Him from the multitudes or from the Scribes; they have come to rescue Him from Himself. They think Jesus has lost His mind. They are worried about Him and they have come to get Him, to take Him back home, so that He can get some rest. They are worried about Him. These people are there to help the Lord, or so they think.

        So, near the Lord are those who have come to hear Him. They surround Him as He speaks. A little farther back we see those who would hinder the Lord, these are the Scribes and their cohorts. At the very back of the crowd is our Lord’s family, the ones who have come to help Him. These verses focus on Jesus and His earthly family. Jesus uses the arrival of His physical family as an opportunity to teach us about His relationship with His spiritual family.

        As the Lord gives opportunity today, I want to examine the truths that are revealed in these verses. They have some very profound spiritual lessons to teach us, if we will receive them. Let’s look in on this scene and see if we can grasp the truths that are contained here. I want to preach around the question: Are You In The Family? Let’s notice what the Bible has to teach us about our spiritual family.


  I.  v. 31-33   A TENSE MOMENT

(Ill. As Jesus is teaching His family shows up. Their arrival creates a moments of tension for everyone there.)

A.  v. 31  The Family’s Request – Jesus is teaching and His family is on the outside of the crowd. They can’t get to Him because of the multitude, so they send word through the crowd to tell Jesus to come to where they are. His family wants Him to stop His teaching, leave the multitude, and go home with them.

                As I mentioned, they think He has lost His mind and they have come to stage an intervention. They want Jesus come home, so they interrupt His teaching to try and get His attention.

B.  v. 32  The Crowd’s Reaction – You can see the scene if you try. His mother Mary, or perhaps one of His brothers, tells someone at the back of the crowd to pass the word to Jesus that they are there to see Him. That fellow tells another fellow and he tells another. Soon enough the word reaches Jesus that His family is there to see Him and that they want Him to stop teaching and go with them.

        The crowd sees nothing wrong with this. In that society nothing was as important as one’s family. Everything centered on the family. If Jesus’ family needed Him, the crowd fully expected Jesus to stop teaching them and go to His relatives.

C.  v. 33  The Lord’s Response – Instead of stopping what He was doing and going to His mother and brothers, Jesus simply said, “Who is My mother, or my brethren?” The crowd must have been shocked. His mother must have been devastated. His brothers probably got angry. They had traveled all the way from Nazareth to get Him and He refused to even stop teaching to talk with them.


(Note: This is a tense scene and the Lord’s reaction to His family seems cold on the surface. But His response to them was designed to teach some very important truths.

1. Spiritual business takes priority over earthly business – The Lord’s family had their attention focused on earthly, fleshly concerns. Jesus had His attention focused on carrying out the Father’s business. To Jesus nothing was as important as doing the will of His Father, John 4:32.

        God’s people need that same heart for heavenly things. The Lord saved us to serve Him, Eph. 2:10, and He has every right to expect us to place His will ahead of our will. Yet, most of the time our focus is on earthly matters.

·         We are more concerned with making a living than doing the will of God.

·         We are more concerned with our own needs than we are with the needs of others.

·         We are more concerned about the trivial affairs of life than we are about the souls of men.

·         We probably spend more time praying for a few personal needs than we do for the power of God to be on our lives and on our church.

·         We need to have the focus of our hearts adjusted, Col. 3:2.

2.  Spiritual relationships take priority over human relationships – Family is important, but it is not all important. There are times when the family can come between the believer and what the Lord wants that believer to do. That was the problem our Lord faced in these verses. The family of Jesus came to stop Him from doing what He Father sent Him to do. They came to hinder Him and to stand between Him and His Heavenly Father’s will for His life and ministry.

        When it is time to choose between the Lord and one’s family, the believer should always choose the Lord. You never love your family more than when you are totally dedicated to the Lord’s will for your life! They may not see it, but it is true nonetheless! While earthly bonds are strong and they are important, they are eclipsed by our spiritual relationships, Ill. Matt. 10:34-39.

        A lot of people are so committed to the life of their family that they allow those commitments to come before their commitment to the Lord.

·         Every sacrifice is made there.

·         Every commitment is made there.

·         Every moment is occupied there.

·         Everything revolves around what is happening in the family.

        There is nothing wrong with loving your family, you should, you must love your family, 1 Tim. 5:8, but family business is never more important than the Lord’s business.

·         When your family business keeps you out of church, something is wrong.

·         When your family business keeps you from serving the Lord, something is wrong.

·         When your family business holds you back in your service to the Lord, something is wrong!

        There are times when your commitment to your family and your commitment to the Lord will clash. Jesus is trying to tell us that our responsibility to serve the Lord is superior to our responsibility to our human relations.

        You see, every physical relationship in your life will end at death; but the spiritual relationships you have in Jesus are forever! So, when your commitments to earthly relations are in conflict to your commitments to heavenly relations, your obligations to Heaven are greater! Here is how Jesus put it, Luke 14:25-33.)



(Ill. Instead of trying to ease the tension, Jesus turns it up a notch. Instead of reaching out to his earthly family, He speaks to all the members of His spiritual family. Jesus used this moment as an opportunity to teach some eternal truth to those who would receive it.)

A.  v. 33  The Question – “Who is My mother, or my brethren?”  - This question is all important! The issue here is about spiritual relationships. Who are those people that are in a personal, spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?

        That is the question that you should ask yourself today: Am I in a personal relationship with Jesus? Am I saved by His grace? Am I a Child of God?

        When your life ends, nothing will matter but your relationship with Jesus. If you know Him you will go to Heaven. If you do not know Jesus, you will go to Hell, 1 John 5:12.

        That seems simplistic in our pluralistic, modern world. People all around us are telling us that there are many paths to Heaven. Yet, the Bible tells us that there is only one way and that His name is Jesus, Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Acts 16:31.

B. v. 34-35  The Qualifications – After He asked the question, Jesus looked at the crowds who were hanging on His every word and He proclaimed them to be His spiritual family. Then He spoke about what it takes for a person to be considered a member His spiritual family.

1.  There Is A Spiritual Requirement – Jesus said that whosoever did the will of the Father was a member of His spiritual family. Does this mean that people get into the Lord’s spiritual family because of the things they “do”? Does this imply that works are the basis for salvation? No, I think the Bible is very clear that works cannot save the soul, Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5. (Ill. Jesus already DID everything that was required to make salvation available to those who will believe.)

        So, what is this “will of the Father” that Jesus is talking about? In John 6:37-40 Jesus tells us in very clear terms just what the will of the Father is.

        The will of the Father is for sinners to believe on the Son. When a lost person receives Jesus as his or her Savior, they are instantly and eternally saved. At the moment of salvation they become a child of God, 1 John 3:1-3; Rom. 8:15-16. If you can “see the Son”, that is, if you can believe that Jesus came to this world like the Bible says, lived like it says, died like it says and rose again like it says, you can be saved. If you can “believe on Him”; if you can believe that He died for you and rose again from the dead you can be saved, 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 10:9, 10:13.

        That is only spiritual requirement! God does not require you to join a church. He does not require you to be baptized. He does not require you to give your tithe. He does not require you to start living a good life. All of those things have their place, but not before salvation! None of those things can save the soul.

        There is one requirement and it is faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ: nothing more and nothing less! If you can believe on Him and what He did for you, you will be saved and you will receive “everlasting life”.

2.  There Are Some Spiritual Realities – I am sure that Jesus bore some resemblance to His mother Mary. Certainly He had some part her appearance and her mannerisms. That is the way it is in all families.

        Children carry with them the image of their parents. They have their looks. They have their walk. They have their inflections in the way they talk.

        A child that is born into a human family usually always has certain marks and characteristics that label him or her as being a child of their parents. As they say, “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

        The same is true in God’s spiritual family. Every one of His children bears certain birthmarks that reveal them to be children of God.

        Do you want to know what those marks are? If you have them, you can rest assured that you are a child of God. If they are missing, then you need to come to Jesus and you need to be saved. Here are the marks that identify a child of God.

a.  The Birth Mark – Every true child of God has experienced the new birth. There was a moment in time when they saw their sins and understood that they were condemned in the eyes of God. At that moment, they looked away by faith to the Lord Jesus. They accepted His death as the payment for their sins. They believed in Him as the risen Lord and they were saved. That is the essence of the new birth. They went down a lost sinner and came up a child of God, a new creature in Christ. The birth mark is a necessity, John 3:3-8. Those who have received the birth mark have also received the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1:4. They are new creatures and it is obvious that they have been changed, 2 Cor. 5:17.

b.  The Book Mark – Every true child of God is a person of the Book. They love the Bible and feed on it so that they might grow in the Lord, Matt. 4:4; 1 Pet. 2:2. They have a hunger for it like the one Job described, Job 23:12. They are known as a “people of the Book” and they pattern their lives after its teachings, Psa. 119:11, 105. Someone who has no use for the Word of God is not a child of God!

c.  The Knee Mark – The born again one is a person of prayer. They understand that prayer is their connection to the Father in Heaven and they reach up to Him on a regular basis.

                Just as a camel finds relief from its burdens by getting down on its knees, the child of God finds hope, comfort and help in spending time before the throne of grace, Matt. 6:6; 7:7-8; Phil. 4:6. Thank God for the gracious gift of prayer!

d.  The Collar Mark[i] – Wisk detergent used to promise that it would remove “ring around the collar”. Ring around the collar was used to indicate hard work. The person who had ring around the collar had sweated so much that his clothes were stained.

                The true believer will be identified by his works. When a person is truly saved, they will be busy for Jesus. That is the clear teaching of the Bible, James 2:18; Eph. 2:10. The believer will have the attitude of Jesus, Who came not to be served but to serve, Matt. 20:28.


Conc: So, are you in the family? Do you possess the marks of the believer? If you do, then praise the Lord. If you do not, this altar is open and you can be saved if you will come to Jesus today.

        If you are in the family, has the Lord spoken to you about the place spiritual things hold in your life? Are you like so many who place earthly relationships before spiritual relationships? Are you guilty of giving the Lord the backseat in your life, while your family and your interests take first place?

        If He has spoken to you on any level, you need to come and get before Him to ask Him for the help you need to live like you are a member of God’s forever family!

[i] Adapted from Billie Friel, Manna From Mark, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2004) 38.

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