In ancient Palestine, it was the most intimate social structure in Jewish life.  It determined your personality and identity, where you went and who you were with, your career and your church.   Today, we call it the backbone of America, the building block of society, the principle institution to be revered above all others.  The family.

Mark 3:20-35 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast 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, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

What does Jesus teach us about family?

Congregational Responses:
Those closest to us often oppose us most.
Even Jesus’ family didn’t want him to go into ministry.
Faith defines our siblings.
Subverting your family’s prescribed roles will be called mentally ill.

What does Jesus teach us about family?

If it is defined solely by those who share your last name, who pose with you in the Olan Mills portrait, then your family of origin is much too small, your family tree in need of more branches.

He hung up the shop apron instead of taking over Joseph’s carpentry business, he told the grieving son to forgo his father’s funeral to preach, he left the flock to find the one lost sheep.  Jesus didn’t practice family values, but only Christian values.

The family of God has little to do with genealogy or geography, but the Gospel truth that we are all adopted by grace, that our father is our Father who art in heaven, that the water of our baptism is thicker than the blood of our birth.  Water is thicker than blood.

Fred Craddock was at dinner one night in East Tennessee when an elderly man came over and introduced himself.  “I am from around these parts,” he said.  “My mother was not married… [and whenever we went to town] I could see people staring at us, making guesses about who my daddy was.  In my early teens, I began attending a little church but always left before church was over, because I was afraid somebody would ask me what a boy like me was doing in church.  One day, before I could escape, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  It was the minister.  He looked closely at my face.  I knew that he too was trying to guess who my father was. ‘Well, boy, you are a child of. . .’ and then he paused.  When he spoke again he said, ‘Boy, you are a child of God.  I see a striking resemblance.’  Then he swatted me on the bottom and said, ‘Now, you go on and claim your inheritance.’

You are my sister; I am your brother; this congregation is your family.