Jesus Rebukes His Mother

Last week we joined Mary and Jesus at the wedding in Cana.  This week, Jesus has begun this ministry.

Jesus is teaching when his mother and brothers arrive

Jesus is teaching when his mother and brothers arrive

Jesus is in a house, probably in Capernaum, sharing with many that had come to hear him speak.

Mark 3:31-35 (KJV)

31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.  And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

While Jesus is speaking his mother and brothers arrive and approach him.

The trip is 40 miles and takes approximately 45 minutes by car from Nazareth to Capernaum, if that was where they set out from and their final destination.   By foot, this trip most likely took a minimum of three days.  The group had been traveling for a long time and more than likely they were hungry, thirsty and tired.

Since Jesus is busy teaching, they pass on the word that they are there.  The word probably spread pretty quickly.  We are given the impression that their business with Jesus was urgent.   However, Jesus did not think it was any more important than what he was doing.  We don’t know the exact nature of this visit.

Jesus did not acknowledge Mary

Jesus did not acknowledge Mary

The Four Gospels commentary describes the visit in the following manner: “Mary and her children seemingly took charge of the situation and went from Nazareth to Capernaum because of what was being reported about Jesus…and that scene appears to be one where Mary wants to protect Jesus from getting himself in trouble with the leaders.”

As a mother, isn’t your first instinct to protect your children?  This is what Mary had on her heart and mind to do.

So does Jesus stand up with open arms to greet them?

No!  Instead, he rebuked them.  This is one time when Jesus neither acknowledges his mother or grant her request.  Where there others instances similar that we are not told about?

33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

Jesus continued teaching

Jesus continued teaching

Jesus is not looking at earthly relationships, but at spiritual relationships at this point in time.

34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Our commentary gives us the following explanation, “Jesus was then in the full course of his ministry as Messiah, and as such he recognized only spiritual relationships. By doing the will of God we become his spiritual children, and thus we become related to Christ. Jesus admits three human relationships—”brother, sister, mother”—but omits the paternal relationship, since he had no Father, save God. It is remarkable that in the only two instances in which Mary figures in the ministry of Jesus prior to his crucifixion, she stands forth reproved by him. This fact not only rebukes those who worship her, but especially corrects the doctrine of her immaculate conception.”

How do you think Jesus rebuke made Mary feel?  Do you think he turned his attention to her when he finished teaching?

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  • we are each independent souls here on this earth to experience and learn specific things. while we should respect our parents for bringing us into this world and raising us, we are each independent of one another, spiritually. our parents each have to own spiritual lessons and growth they must experience and learn, just as we have our own. we cannot experience and learn for them, as they cannot do for us.

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