The Family of God

The Gospel of Mark – Part 14

The Family of God – Mark 3:31-35

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Oct. 6th, 2019


  • In the last passage of this chapter, Mark returns to Jesus’ family when they finally arrive from Nazareth to the place Jesus was staying in Capernaum. They had come to “seize” Jesus because they thought that He was “out of His mind” (Mark 3:20).  At this point, they did not understand what He was doing, and they were confused about His identity (you would think that if anyone knew who Jesus was, it would be His mother, Mary). He was also being accused by the religious leaders of being empowered by Satan as one who is evil.  Jesus defends Himself from the religious leaders with theological logic and then addresses His physical family when they arrive. 
  • From this passage this morning, we are going to talk about your relationship to your physical family and your relationship with your family of faith, and how they relate to one another. We are going to look at the entire passage first, and then we are going to break it down into two parts.  Let’s read the passage together. 

Mark 3:31-35 ESV
And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  35 Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” 

  • If you are in the faith doing the will of God, you have two families. One is your family though the physical, and the other is your family through the spiritual.  Let’s talk about each one. 

Our physical family 

  • These are the people who are connected to us by the physical, either through marriage (one flesh) or though birth. Everyone of us has a physical family, even Jesus. And in this account, the physical family of Jesus was coming to Him out of care and concern and perhaps out of responsibility or embarrassment . . . either way, they traveled a good distance because they felt the need to take control of the situation by “helping” Jesus (Lord, have mercy on us for doing the same thing).  
  • So, His mother and brothers came to the house (more than likely Joseph was dead) and there was a large crowd gathered around Him, so they couldn’t even get in to see Him.  They sent a message by someone telling Him to come to them. I don’t know why the brothers had their mom there, perhaps she was the one who originated the concern and was behind them going, perhaps the brothers thought to bring their mom because if He did not respond to them, they would have a better chance of getting Him to respond to her. Either way, they were there and were asking for Jesus. (Jesus did have a physical family through His father Joseph and His mother Mary, see Matt 13:53-58: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us?” ESV). 
  • Jesus had a choice to make: was He to stop what He was doing (teaching, preaching, ministering) and go outside in response to the call of His physical family, His mother and his brothers?  Whose needs were greater?  What was His higher priority and greater responsibility?  What was He going to do when the call of His family conflicted with the call of His ministry? 
  • Jesus’ answered the call with a question, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Now, I am sure when the family heard that answer, they were confirmed in their conclusion that “He was out of his mind” because He did not even know who His family was. But Jesus was not out of His mind at all. In fact, He had the most “sane” mind of anyone who has ever lived. What He was doing in responding with this question was defining family in terms of eternity. The people who are my family are those that do the will of God. They are the ones who truly are my family.
  • Now, in saying this was Jesus saying that we are to erase and replace our physical family with our spiritual family?  The answer to that question is “no.” Why would I say that? Because in confronting the religious leaders about putting their religious tradition over the word of God, He also affirmed the responsibility we have to our physical family. 

Mark 7:9-13 ESV
And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!  10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’  11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) —  12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,  13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

  • We also know that Jesus did make sure that His mother was provided for after He died. (As the oldest son, He was responsible to care for His mother). When Jesus was on the cross, He:

John 19:26-27 ESV
saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 

  • And we are also instructed in scripture that we are to provide and take care of our family as an expression of our faith. 

1 Tim 5:8 ESV
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

  • It is clear that we have a special connection and responsibility to our physical family, and Jesus was not erasing and replacing this, for we do indeed have an obligation to honor our parents and provide for our family. However, our physical, earthly family does not guarantee they will be a part of our eternal, spiritual family. Because Jesus said that, “Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).  Let’s talk about our spiritual family: 

Our spiritual family 

  • This is the family that is connected by the spiritual. This is not the family that you are “born into,” this is the family that you are “born again” into. This is the family of faith that is identified by those who are “doing the will of God.” We are inducted into this family by faith, and identified as family by our works, that we “look like Jesus.” (See John chapter 3, Eph. 2:8-10, Rom. 8:12-16, Rom. 8:29, James 2:18-26.)
  • We have a spiritual eternal family, where each one of us is “adopted” by God our Father when we repent of our sin, receive mercy because of Christ, and give ourselves to Jesus as Lord. And this family is from every tribe, nation and people group. This family will be together for all eternity. 
  • When it comes to a choice between belonging to the family of God in faith, or belonging to our physical family, always choose your eternal family. Your allegiance and identification with your eternal family must take precedent over your physical family. This is what Jesus taught us:

Matt 10:34-39 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

  • We still have the Biblical mandate to honor our Father and Mother and to take care of and provide for our families. However, if it comes down to a choice between allegiance to your family of birth verses an allegiance to your Lord and your family of faith, always choose the Lord!  Many of us will face this choice one way or another. Jesus reassures us that it will be worth it! 

Matt 19:28-30 ESV
Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.  30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. 


  • Each one of us have been born into this world by the coming together of our parents. Honor them for the role they have in your life and express your faith by taking care of the needs of your family.
  • God extends His grace to us by calling us to be “born again” into the family of faith. Thank God for His grace and goodness to us.  
  • Choose to fulfill your responsibilities and live out your faith in your forever family by placing your allegiance to Christ before any other relationship. 
  • Call to a realignment of priorities and prayer