The Gospel of Mark tell us Jesus' family thought he was nuts (yeah, can you believe it?) and wanted to have him put away; what do you think?
8 Answers | Add Yours
I have at three reactions to this.
First, if one of your family went around procaiming that he was the son of God, wouldn't you wonder if he was all there? So if you look at Jesus' family as regular human beings, it is perhaps not that surprising.
Second, this goes to some extent to the way that Mark is different from other Gospels. For example, we do not even see an account of Jesus' birth in Mark. This means that this gospel is meant to some extent to emphasize how Jesus' true famiy is made up of those who believe in him, not of those who are actually related to him.
Finally, I would point out that this understanding of Jesus' family is somewhat at odds with the idea (from other gospels) that Mary knew Jesus was the son of God.
Reading through the Gospel of Mark, in the Bible's New Testament, I can find no mention that Jesus' family wanted him to be put away.
Most of Mark's account describes how Jesus chose he disciples, the miracles he and his apostles performed, and how many of those in high places in religious circles (the Pharisees and high priests, etc.) worked on a plan to have Jesus killed. Jesus tells many parables, and he even speaks of his imminent death and his second coming.
The only mention I can find of Jesus' family at all during his time traveling and preaching with the twelve apostles is in Mark, Chapter Three, starting with verse thirty-one. According to the Revised Standard Version:
And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him, they said to him, 'Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.' And he replied, 'Who are my mother and my brothers?' And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brother! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.'
The only mention I know of in the New Testament gospels that speak of Mary and Joseph's reaction to Jesus' wisdom, etc., is in Luke, Chapter Two, starting with verse forty-six; Jesus' parents take him to Jerusalem to observe the feast of Passover (at age twelve) and are separated from him for three days. He is not with their family, so they return to the temple in Jerusalem, and there Jesus is listening to the teachers and asking questions. All that heard Jesus were amazed, and his parents were astonished to find him there, occupied in this way, but there is no mention of having Jesus' put away.
It is true, however, that not all who heard Jesus believed, and many of them wanted to harm Jesus, to kill him.
Also being pretty familiar with the gospel of Mark, I can't find anything that suggests that Jesus' family ever wanted him to be put away. They were, by all the limited accounts in the gospel and elsewhere, sometimes astonished at him (who wouldn't be) and sometimes perplexed as he was "about his father's business" instead of doing what every other twelve year old was doing, but the idea they thought he was crazy? Not so sure where that is.
As always with the Bible, you have to consider whether you are looking at it as a historical document or a doctrine of faith.
To look at it from a purely secular view, well wouldn't any of us react that way? Look at what has happened to men in modern society who claim to be God or a messenger from him? We call their religions cults and try to dismantle them. I know if someone in my family said they were sent from God, I'd probably look at them funny. It would take a lot to convince me otherwise.
If you look at the Bible as an article of faith, then any attempt to say that Jesus' family doesn't accept him for what he is (meaning the son of God) would be contradictory to all the other doctrines laid out in the Bible and throughout Christianity. We believe that the Angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she would be blessed by the Immaculate Conception of Jesus (the Annuciation). We also believe that while she was frightened and skeptical she went to her cousin Elizabeth to help her and learned to rejoice in his coming. In addition the Bible tells us that Mary was one of Jesus' most constant disciples. From this point of view, how can we also believe that Mark would refer to his family as not believing?
I have to agree with #3 in the need for accuracy when reading The Bible. Nowhere does it mention that the family of Jesus thought he was "nuts" as you so colloquially put it. The Gospels do obviously show that the family of Jesus was concerned enough about him to come and get him when they thought that he was beginning to endanger himself, however madness is never mentioned. I agree with other editors that you would most likely try to help your son out if he started doing some of the things that Jesus did.
i probably have to agree with #2, does the gospel of mark actually mention the whole idea of jesus' family thinking him nuts? well if that is so the signs that jesus did were out of this world, so they are justified. i rather emphasis on the point of correctly interpretin the bible
It is probably best to assume (to the extent one may safely do so when interpreting Scripture) that Jesus family had some concern for his safety. He attacked the establishment with abandon, and quickly established a reputation for himself. A person in such a situation is always exposed to some degree of dissent; which dissent may become violent. My own interpretation would be that his family were concerned for his safety. By pointing to the crowds, and saying these are my brethren, Jesus indicated that he had come for a higher purpose. I see nothing in Mark's Gospel, or anywhere else for that matter, that would suggest they thought he was "nuts."
#4, #6 and #8 need to look at Mark 3:21 because it clearly states, "When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Understanding that only Mary, Jesus' mother was a follower during Jesus' earthly ministry would be the reason why she instructs the servants to "do whatever he says" at the wedding in Cana (John 1)and why she is at his crucifixion. His brothers James and Judas become believers after his resurrection and James becomes the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Judas writes the book of Jude (Judas was not a popular enough name for some reason and so it was changed to Jude when it was added to the Cannon).
Also John 7:1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
I guess the real lesson here is if you are going to give instruction about something you probably ought to read what you are instructing on and know what it says before you put "expert, educator, etc." besides your name. Don't mean to be mean but this one is pretty bad!
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes