JESUS HELD A GRUDGE. I don’t know if that’s true. But I’m afraid that’s what it felt like. I was reading the story because I needed to paraphrase it for Mark, in the Casual English Bible.
It’s a story in two snippets.
The family of Jesus unexpectedly shows up in the tiny fishing village of Capernaum, at what has become the headquarters of his newly launched ministry. His family publicly declares him wacko, and they say they’re coming to take him away, ha ha, ho ho, hey hey.
They jumped to that conclusion after they heard he was going all over the place performing exorcisms and healing the sick.
Apparently that wasn’t part of his apprenticeship as a carpenter.
“When Jesus’s family heard what was going on, they said, ‘He lost his mind.’ They came for an intervention, intending to take him into custody—arrested by the family” (Mark 3:21 Casual English Bible).
A story between the two snippets could only have made things worse for Jesus. Jewish scholars came down from Jerusalem and declared Jesus “possessed by Beelzebub” (Mark 3:22 Casual English Bible).
Jesus has gone from crazy to possessed.
If there’s any doubt that he is upset by all this, we might take a close look at what he told the Jewish scholars:
“There is no forgiveness for those who slander the Holy Spirit” (Mark 3:29 Casual English Bible).
Before the snippet
When Jesus explains to the Jewish scholars why he’s not using demon power to exorcise demons and why it’s impossible for Satan to fight against Satan, he uses a curious illustration that’s almost hidden among his other arguments.
“If a family splits in two because of a feud, you end up with a broken family” (Mark 3:25 Casual English Bible).
Was he thinking about his family when he said this? I wonder.
While Jesus is confronting these Jewish scholars who are calling him possessed, his family is waiting outside to call him crazy.
Here’s Mark’s report:
“Jesus’s mother and brothers, who came to get him, were standing outside. They sent word to him so he would come out.
A crowd was sitting around Jesus, and they passed along the message. ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside wanting to see you.’
‘Who is my mother?’ he said. ‘Who are my brothers?’
Jesus looked at all the people seated in a circle around him. He said, Here are my mother and brothers.
Anyone who obeys God is my brother and my sister and my mother’” (Mark 3:31-35 Casual English Bible).
Sorry, but when I read Jesus saying “Who is my mother…Who are my brothers?” I’m thinking that he’s thinking:
“What mother? What brother?”
And maybe he’s thinking, “I’d eat a pork chop before I’d see them right now. Crazy am I?”
We don’t like to think of Jesus as being human enough to have foibles. But foibles are side effects of being human. Though I’m not sure if it’s fair to call it a foible to be upset by a family that says we’re crazy has come to take us away ha ha, ho ho, hey hey.
If Jesus did get upset with his family, and I am betting he did, they eventually made up.
Mary encouraged him to produce wine for a wedding in Cana. And she was there at the Cross when he died. One of his brothers, James, became a leader of the Jerusalem church, apparently even serving in authority over Peter. James seemed to run the first church council meeting on record, reported in Acts 15. And he may have been the author of the New Testament book that bears his name.
I don’t know if Jesus temporarily held a grudge against his family, as most of us have probably done from time to time. But I wouldn’t begrudge him that. If he was both fully divine and fully human, as scholars insist, I think fully human gives him the right to say:
“What mother? What brother?”
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