Title: Two Families
Text: Mark 3.7-35
Introduction: Another resignation from a leader this week. I’m guessing many of you saw Gov. Andrew Cuomo resign from his position as Governor of New York. Romans 13.1 says, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities… which becomes harder and harder when our leaders do their best to lead us astray. In Hebrews 13.17, it says of our religious leaders: Obey your leaders and submit to them. We concluded our study the last time we met in Mark 3.6 where we see the Religious Leaders behave in a corrupt fashion. Rd 3.6 – 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
We are in desperate need of leadership. We are in desperate need of good, strong, godly leaders. This morning we’ll look at the perfect leader, his success and his leadership in selecting leaders to continue his work. A clear picture will be presented of those who accept his authority and those who reject his authority; those who follow his leadership and those who reject his leadership.
Here is our short summary: Christ has just experienced this conspiracy by the Religious leaders to do away with him. And you and I know they will succeed in killing him. It is now time for Jesus to select his successors.
In our text today, we’ll see the Religious leaders plotting his death, and Jesus then flees to the sea (of Galilee). Undeterred, the crowds from everywhere follow him there. So great are these crowds, that Jesus has a boat ready so that he can get away from them lest they crush him. As David fled Saul, many followed him out into the desolate places. So, also many more will follow Jesus (7-12).
Jesus leaves the seaside and goes up on a mountainside where he picks his 12 disciples. He calls those he desires and appoints 12 to the service of following him closely, preaching and having authority to cast out demons (13-19). In this listing, we meet Judas who is identified as the one who would betray Jesus. This is a reminder of the conspiracy the Pharisees and the Herodians are hatching.
Jesus will leave there and make his way home with his new family. We see them in stark contrast to his birth family who comes to ‘seize’ him. He is evidently an embarrassment to them, for they think he has lost his mind. (20-21)
In this passage today, Mark draws a firm line in the text to identify those who belong to Christ and those who are against him. First, his family claims he is out of his mind. Then, the scribes claim he is demon possessed – a man with an unclean spirit. His family then makes another attempt to ‘seize’ him; standing outside, they call for him. But Jesus clarifies for us in the final verse who his family really is. (22-35)
This story can be broken down into three movements:
- He withdraws to the Sea of Galilee (7) where he continues to have great success in ministry.
- He takes his disciples up on a mountain (13) where he selects his 12 disciples to walk with him, preach his message and have authority to cast out demons.
- He returns home (20) I suppose to Capernaum, where his family and the religious leaders will confront him. This last section is in the form of what David Helm, pastor of Christ Church in Chicago, calls a Markan Sandwich – family/leaders/family.
Chapter three will establish two groups for us:
- The Insiders, those who accept Christ’s authority.
- The Outsiders, those who reject Christ’s authority. (3.31-32, 4.11)
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll follow the following outline:
- His Success in Ministry
- His Successors to his Ministry
- Public Opposition to his Ministry
Transition: Let’s take a closer look at…
I. His Success (7-12)
exp.: I think it is easy to miss where Mark is taking us when we get bogged down in any particular story; rd v 7; withdrew; Matthew 2.14; Joseph taking his family and fleeing Herod; 1 Samuel 19.10; David fleeing Saul’s missed throw of his spear. Joshua 8.15; a fleeing army; It sounds like Jesus is escaping danger. He goes to the sea; People from everywhere follow him there; So great are the crowds it describes him as possibly being crushed; rd v 9-11; Remember: this is the theme of Mark from the very beginning; “the Messianic Secret”
ill.: I want to take a moment to talk about ‘pictures’. I’ve refer to them quite often. God is so good to give us pictures, he gives us just a taste (if you will) of his character, of the Messiah, of end times, etc. He does this so that we will recognize that this is of God. Here is another great example. We can build on this Wednesday night. In the OT, we’re given snapshots of the Messiah in King David. Those flash before our minds as we read this story because of the action and the terminology we’re given. David flees Saul and many go out to him – the riff raff; 1 Samuel 22.2: 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
app.: I’m not sure we would catch this, but those of his readers, familiar with the OT stories of David and Saul might catch this. Many more go out to Christ; many more who are in distress and debt and bitter in soul. We don’t have time to cover this one little topic of what Scholars call “Types”. But remind me, and we’ll look at this more extensively on Wednesday night.
This is important because you might sit here today and think, “How do you know Jesus is the Messiah?” Or, maybe you have a family member or a friend who asks the same question. Answer: Types.
t.s.: So, we see his tremendous success in spite of the fact that he is out and away from the towns and villages; next, we see his successors.
II. His Successors (13-19)
exp.: rd v 13; He goes up a mountain; Consider Sinai and the formation of the 12 Tribes; Think ‘types’ again; Who went up on a mountain in the OT (and received the Law)? Moses. Moses is a type of Christ. He gives a picture of the future Messiah. Certain people are called to him; I understand this to be a much larger number than just the 12; from this group, he will select the 12; The 12 then, are appointed to three functions in 14f:
- They might be with him – this is discipleship, pure and simple. We must get younger believers to walk with us to learn what it means to be a Christian. They ate with him, watched him pray, read the Scriptures and explain them; they observed his life.
- They might preach his message – κηρύσσω; Proclaimed, announced, made known; We see John the Baptist doing this in chapter one and Jesus, also. 1.14-15; 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- Have authority to cast out demons – I equate this w/ healing and restoration. They’re going to do what he has been doing through these first couple of chapters.
app.: these men will go out in 6.7ff just as they’ve been taught.
t.s.: In this 1st section we’ve seen his followers, both the larger group and the smaller group (the 12); in this next section, we’ll see the opposition publicly malign Christ.
III. His Accusers and Their Accusations (20-34)
exp.: This is where those opposed to him speak out against him publically; rd v 20; He goes home; lit.: a house; must be Capernaum; This is the home base, as we’ve seen, of his early ministry. **The crowd gathers so thick, that Jesus and his disciples can’t even eat – they can’t break bread together. This is due to his popularity and the great need of the people. But this is a reminder to me of all the negative information we get in this section. Check it out:
- A Conspiracy to destroy Jesus (6)
- Jesus flees to the desolate places in (7);
- So thick is the crowd and so desperate for Jesus are they that he orders a boat to be nearby lest he ‘crushed’ (9)
- Judas is identified as the betrayer in (19). Judas will join this conspiracy and play a major part in the death of Christ. This, I believe, is the first reference to his death.
- His family claims he is out of his mind (21)
- The Pharisees accuse him of being demon possessed (22, 30)
Here in v. 22-34, we see that famous Markan Sandwich I mentioned earlier; of accusations:
- His Family rejects his authority; rd v 21; Lunatic
- The Pharisees reject his authority; rd v 22; Demon possession; possessed by Beelzebub; I think of the father of lies; Liar; I read in one commentary that this is where C.S. Lewis gets his argument for Liar, Lunatic, Lord. I could find no evidence of that.
Jesus then teaches in parables; rd 23a. He calls the Pharisees to himself and tells them parables, explaining the Kingdom of God and those who are outside and those who are inside. He warns them of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
- His Family comes to retrieve their member, but are publicly rejected by Jesus;
t.s.: we’ve crossed a few troublesome passages this morning: Why did Jesus tell people (or demons) who knew who he was to keep it a secret? What really is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and have you ever committed the unpardonable sin? In a moment, well see that Jesus was harsh to his family. Why does Jesus say these, what appear to be ‘mean’ statements? But instead of taking time to discuss these here, I will cover these questions this Wednesday night:
App.: I’ve said before and place great emphasis on this once again today: I’m not sure there is anything more important in the church than our relationships. Nothing. We’re family. We’re brothers and sisters in Christ. 1 Tim 5 Paul encouraged: 5 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
Application: So, what do I want you to take home with you today? One word: Relationships… In direct correlation to leadership. Jesus is the perfect Leader! He is developing leaders. He’s getting them ready to take things over because we’ve found out now in Mark, that the Religious Leaders want him dead and Judas will conspire with them to bring this about.
- It is important to connect yourself to Christ (the perfect leader) and His spiritual family. And considering that…
- Who do you need to be near or better yet, who needs to be near you? I love this terminology of proximity. Discipleship isn’t something that happens long distance. To be clear, I know that in some situations, that is what is happening out of necessity. Ex.: Muslims coming to Christ in foreign countries. But that is the exception. Who should you be calling to yourself, with the purpose and intention of discipleship?
- How might you be preaching this same message as Christ? I ask this question because it is what they were doing. And your message must be the same. Lisa and I were discussing a phrase in Scripture last night, that is odd to the modern ear. Ferret those troublesome phrases, passages out together and absorb the Whole Counsel of God.
- Are there people around you who need healing? Restoration? Exodus 19.5-6 – 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Jesus is, in a very real way, restoring this task to the people of God. That means, that’s your task and my task. Ask again: Are there people around you who need healing? Restoration?