Sometimes you can read something a hundred times before the significance of it really sinks in. That’s exactly what happened to me when I was completely taken back by what John writes in his gospel about Jesus in John 7:5:
Here’s why this is surprising.
The brothers of Jesus (James, Joses, Simon and Judas are all named in Matthew 13:55, and no not that Judas), had grown up with the very son of God living under the same roof:
- Some of them would have been old enough to remember their older brother Jesus, at the age of 12, going to the Temple and teaching the religious leaders (Luke 2:39-52).
- They were also likely invited guests at the same wedding when Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11).
- Some of them would likely have been present, or at least would have been aware of when their older brother turned the tables in the temple, and how this act carried with it the bold messianic statement that the temple was ‘my father’s house’.
- They would also have known that Jesus healed an official’s son (John 4:46-54), healed the man on the sabbath at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17), fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:1-14) and walked on water (John 6:16-21).
Why didn't they believe?It’s easy to wonder how Jesus’ brothers could have been witnesses, or at least heard about all of these things, but still not believed that Jesus was the very Son of God. Our temptation would be to think that surely we would have understood it, even if they didn’t. The truth is we probably wouldn’t have.
Jesus was completely man and completely God. Just as we can’t fully understand this mystery, neither could Jesus’ brothers. Because Jesus walked among them, they would have had no trouble believing that Jesus was at least a very special man, or an incredible prophet. But they hadn’t come to the vital conclusion that sets Jesus apart from any other person who had gone before or would come after - Jesus was God incarnate. God was truly walking among them.
It’s possible for us to call ourselves friends of Jesus, exist around the church, be witness even to miracles, but still not believe that Jesus is exactly who he said he is. If this was the case for Jesus’ own brothers, how much more true will it be for us?
Are you looking for a sign?In Luke 11:16, we read that the people had been testing Jesus, ‘seeking a sign from heaven.’ Jesus answers their test, but not how they had expected.
He speaks about the Old Testament prophet Jonah, who spent three days inside a whale. Jesus tells them that the answer to their test will be similar ; a reference to his own death and resurrection three days later. It could be for exactly this reason that Jesus said in Luke 11:29,
This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
How often do we look for signs to confirm that Jesus was who he said he was? We sometimes pray asking God to prove himself through a miracle, as though God has something to prove to us. Clearly Jesus isn’t saying that all prayer for miracles is wrong, but it is wrong, if our intention is to have God do a trick as though he was a seal with a basketball.
Having faith in Jesus Christ means believing he is exactly who he said he is. Miracles, signs and wonders can certainly help increase our faith, but they don’t take us the entire way. As Christians, we musn’t say, "I see miracles, so I believe Jesus is the Son of God". Instead, our attitude should be, “Jesus is the Son of God, and because of this truth, I believe he can perform miracles.’
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Mark 3:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]Mark 3:21, NIV: When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.'
Mark 3:21, ESV: And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Mark 3:21, KJV: And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Mark 3:21, NASB: And when His own people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, 'He has lost His senses.'
Mark 3:21, NLT: When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. 'He's out of his mind,' they said.
Mark 3:21, CSB: When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, "He's out of his mind."
What does Mark 3:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]The chain of events that lead Jesus' family to worry about Him is not clear. As is common for literature of the time, the Gospels tend to group passages by theme instead of chronology. As a result, we don't know if Jesus has returned to Nazareth since His ministry started. We do know that people from all over Galilee, Judea, and beyond have come to see Him, and Nazareth is only about twenty miles from Capernaum. In Mark 6:1–6, Jesus will return, just to be rudely rejected by the people in His hometown.
So it's possible that people from Nazareth have gone to Capernaum for healing and returned, shocked to learn that the healer is Jesus. It's also possible that travelers have gone to Capernaum for healing and come back through Nazareth. Either way, the people from Nazareth refuse to believe that a man whom they have watched grow up could be an important prophet, let alone the Messiah. Whereas the scribes believe Jesus is demon-possessed (Mark 3:22), His townsmen think He's crazy.
"Out of his mind" comes from the Greek root word existemi. It means to be mentally displaced. The same word is used when Jesus heals the paralytic (Mark 2:12) and Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:42), and when He calms the storm after walking on water (Mark 6:51). In this case, however, it means that Jesus' actions—seemingly out of control, to His family—can have a serious effect on the wellbeing of His family. So they resolve to find Him and. Most likely, to take Him back to Nazareth.
Jesus has four brothers and at least two sisters (Matthew 13:55–56). Eventually, after the resurrection, at least two of His brothers will accept Him as their savior. James wrote the New Testament book in his name and became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Jude, author of the New Testament book that bears his name, also became a believer. They and Mary will be with the disciples on Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Mark 3:13–21 is the third story about the reactions people had to Jesus' ministry. Here, we establish which men Jesus chooses to be in His inner circle. Jesus separates ''the twelve'' for special training so they can be equipped to heal (Matthew 10:1), cast out demons, and spread the gospel. Other than Peter's mother-in-law (Mark 1:30–31), there is no record that Jesus performed miracles of healing for them. But they have witnessed Jesus' power and authority, and are willing to dedicate themselves to His teaching. This is a stark contrast to Jesus' own family. This account is also recorded in Matthew 10:1–4 and Luke 6:12–16.