Refresh Ministry Bible Study – “The Family Business”
I. Text: Mark 3:13-35 (ESV)
The Twelve Apostles
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
31 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 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
They probably remember the debates that went on last Bible study; what was the main topic that we were trying to address? (Legalism that bears no fruit.) Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences with legalism from their own experience? This week, we’re going to move into “The Family Business” as Jesus calls the 12, and we’ll take a look at who His family is.
III. Observations/Main Points
V. 13, He calls those He Himself wanted; He knows them and has lived life with them – including seeing their shortcomings and individual quirks. In v.14, what does “apostle” mean? (Greek apostolos, different from aggelos, meaning messenger. An apostle is an envoy, ambassador, or messenger commissioned to carry out the instructions of the commissioning agent.) In v. 14-15 “So that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons; two-fold function of the apostles of companionship and Gospel service. In v. 16-19, Jesus appoints the apostles; some of them get names – is there a reason for this? Also, spoilers on the Judas thing. In verse 20, are the people just in His house? C’mon now. In v. 21, what might they mean by this? Are they mad at Him for something? Is it out of concern at how much work He is doing? Is it because He chose people to kind of work with Him, and that seems weird? In v. 22, scribes once again contrasting and opposing Jesus, using the opportunity to bring up claims about the source of His power. In v. 23, brings it to the core of what they’re saying, using parables later to illustrate His point. V. 24-25: what Jesus is saying is also true of God’s kingdom and household; “divided against itself” is repeated. In v. 27, Jesus is the one who plunders because He was talking about Satan’s household in the previous verses, and the He is outlining the nature of His power over Satan. In v. 28, this seems pretty standard to what we’ve learned about the nature of Jesus’s forgiveness. V. 29, whoa. This is a sin that is unforgivable. The person who blasphemes in this way is beyond redemption because he is incapable of discerning good from evil. (Isaiah 5:20) v. 30 provides support for who this warning is addressed to. In v. 31, the family is on the outside calling to Him. In v. 32, it provides us with a picture of the layout of the space. In v. 33, what a crazy question to ask! Jesus about to drop some deep relational truths about His family. In v. 34, unexpected reaction to what seemed like a pretty straightforward (though odd) question. V. 35, the passage starts off with the calling of the disciples, but it ends with characterizing the nature of their relationship – “whoever does the will of God is family.”
In v. 22-27, who are the characters here? (Satan is the strong man, and Jesus is the plunderer)
What is this unforgivable sin business?
What is the nature of family to Jesus? Qualifications for it?
Jesus says that those who do the will of God are His brother and sister and mother. As Jesus calls the disciples to “be with Him and so that He might send them out,” He shows, through the Twelve, the nature of the family business. Jesus doesn’t choose people with the intention of just using them, but it’s a choosing that’s relational in its foundation. Per Nouwen: “To be chosen as the Beloved of God is something radically different. Instead of excluding others, it includes others. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, it accepts others in their own uniqueness. It is not a competitive, but a compassionate choice. Our minds have great difficulty in coming to grips with such a reality. Maybe our minds will never understand it. Perhaps it is only our hearts that can accomplish this. Every time we hear about ‘chosen people’, ‘chosen talents’, or ‘chosen friends’, we almost automatically start thinking about elites and find ourselves not far from feelings of jealousy, anger, or resentment. Not seldom has the perception of others as being chosen led to aggression, violence, and war.” By living and dying for us, Jesus has chosen us to be a part of His family and to do the will of God.