Tuesday, December 07, 2010

We Are Family

Mark 3:34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother."

34 καὶ περιβλεψάμενος τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν κύκλῳ καθημένους λέγει· ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου. 35  ὃς [γὰρ] ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, οὗτος ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀδελφὴ καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν.

This is Jesus' response to the statement that His mother and brothers were outside and looking for Him.  One would think that a good son would simply go out and see His mother and His family, even if they were trying to have Him committed.  Instead He does something surprising.  He asks a rhetorical question in verse 33 wondering who are His mother and brothers.  Then He answers it here.

This is one of those Greek constructs that does not translate perfectly.  Jesus tells them ὃς [γὰρ] ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ.  It would read terribly, but very woodenly this would be, "If there is a person who does the will of God."  The verb ποιήσῃ is in the aorist subjunctive.  The aorist tense gives it an undefined aspect.  Basically, Jesus is saying something to the effect of, "Find me someone who does the will of God and I will call that person family."

This has two applications I can think of right away.  The first is doctrinal.  This passage and its parallels in the synoptics tell us that Jesus' mother and family held no special sway over Him, despite what Roman Catholics teach.  He takes care of His mother at the end of John's gospel and He does obey her in John 2, but otherwise she seems to have no special place in His ministry.  I don't think that having her ear gains us any special favor with Jesus.

The other is that doing God's will is something that we really should be doing.  We do not do God's will to earn favor with the Lord.  Rather, we do God's will as a result of our salvation.  This helps me in the area of assurance.  My salvation is not contingent on doing God's will, but if I am doing God's will I have a deeper sense of assurance.

How do we know God's will?  We read His Word and apply it.  This really is not very complicated.  It's easier to write about at 6:30 in the morning than it will be to live at 2:30 this afternoon, but this is the heart of the matter.  How am I living?  Do I act like part of Jesus' family or don't I?


Anthony Russo said...

Good thoughts man. Thank you. Nice job translating it and you brought out the meaning clearly with practical application. I thank the Lord we're both in the same family, brother!

Jason said...

Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. I have Catholic family, so I am particularly attuned to these passages. I want to be faithful to the text.

But I also don't want it to merely be doctrine either. I want it to change how I live and exhort others to do the same.

I've slacked off on the blog lately as I'm working on my thesis and a memorization project. I hope to give it a little more attention during the Christmas break.