Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’ (Mark 3:20-21 NIV)
There were some parts of my childhood in Malaysia that were quite unhappy. Both my parents had committed their lives to Christ. Mum made sure that we had Bible devotions with her at night as my brother and I were growing up. We were part of a local church family. On Sundays, we joined the rest of this church family breaking bread and hearing God’s Word proclaimed. However, at home there was constant upheaval. Dad suffers from mental illness. He would be subject to hallucinations. Mum grew up with a father who was an alcoholic. She brought certain learned patterns of unhealthy behaviour into our family.
I wish someone preached a sermon on Mark 3:21 when I was growing up. Jesus is just starting his life of preaching, teaching and healing in Galilee. His disciples and he are confined to a house helping people as they come in. They are so busy that they do not have time to eat. Somehow this displeases Jesus’ blood family. Maybe they see Jesus as a young religious radical. They say that Jesus is out of his mind. They try to seize him.
If Jesus has problems with his blood family, what about us? On a Sunday morning, as we come for a worship gathering, we seem to think that the family sitting on the pews next to us have got their act figured out. As a pastor, may I assure you that this is not a good presumption. As human beings we are not immune to life’s problems. One person might just be diagnosed with cancer. Another person lost their job. A parent might be having relational difficulties with their children. Someone is finding that they are getting tired looking after their aging parents. All of these issues affect our family lives. Jesus also experienced problems with his blood family. Therefore when Jesus says he understands, he truly does. He has been there before. His family said that he was out of his mind.