Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! – Mark 3:31-34
After his family believed that he was crazy and needed to be taken home (Mark 3:21), Jesus is fully aware of what his family is trying to do, yet also knows that he is not just in his right mind but also right in the center of the plan of his heavenly Father.
While disciplining his disciples, Jesus family comes to try and take him away for some R&R so that he can get his head straight. As with all interruptions (Mark 1:35, 2:1, 4:37, and 10:46), Jesus turns this moment into an opportunity to shape his understanding of what it really means to be a part of his family. His premise is that while it is important to honor our physical family, our spiritual family – our brothers and sisters in Christ – is a more binding relationship.
While this teaching takes issues with some of the idolatry that we associate with our own families, one of the challenging questions is found in the proximity of those who trust Jesus.
Those who are questioning Jesus are sitting are “Standing Outside” of the place where Jesus is. We stand outside when;
- We desire interesting and uplifting companions—he wants to include the unfortunate.
- We desire to know those who will help us get ahead—he desires the disenfranchised.
- We desire to the comfort of family and selected friends—he desires that everyone be his family.
Those who are truly following Jesus are “Sitting Around” him. In doing so they are submitting to his teaching, willing and wanting to be close to him, and sharing a kind of family with him that his physical family was unable to do.
What’s your proximity to Jesus? In what ways are you “Standing Outside”? How are you “Sitting Around”? What do you need to do to spend more time sitting around?