There are some who say that Jesus’ refusal to follow the traditional approach to the Sabbath made him a target for the religious leaders and ultimately it was what had him killed. It would seem that vs. 6 would support that approach. Jesus also mentions in Matthew 5, if you remember, that he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. These two statements would seem contradictory. Did Jesus think the Sabbath was important or was it another opportunity for him to show that he was Lord over all, including the Sabbath (Mark 2)? The answer lies in the previous chapter where he states in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for man, and not vice versa. That’s a pretty powerful statement in a culture where on Sunday you only do certain things and you definitely do not do other things. It is a good lesson for us to learn whether we follow something legalistically, like the Pharisees, or if we follow it because it is helpful for us to recognize that the Lord is Lord over all time.
So far we find Jesus is the anonymous healer/prophet/teacher/savior. Already he has told a number of people not to tell others about who he is. He seems to have an aversion of crowds and just wants to carry out the work that he was set on earth to do. He was not sent to earth to heal. He was not even sent to earth to teach. God himself came as one of us so that he could live, die, and be resurrected so that he could save us from our sins. The role model that he was while he was here is a secondary or ancillary benefit from his presence on the earth. This is why we so often find him telling people not to tell others of what he did. He did not want people to be confused in his task on earth. The more he healed the more people would see him as a simple, but effective healer. He was so much more than that. What is he to us today?
That question of who is Jesus to us today comes on the heels of Jesus’ family thinking that “he is out of his mind”. We always do have options in how we view and understand Jesus. He can be someone who was a good teacher, but his claim that he was a Son of God just might cause us to keep him at arm’s length. He can be someone who is God incarnated, but then that will cause some people to think that we are out of our mind because we take this stuff seriously. I was speaking with someone the other day who is surrounded by family members who don’t understand how she can take literally the promises of Jesus. Eternal life and heaven is just something that those who are weak need in order to cope. At that point I encouraged her to find others who loved Jesus and followed him and surround herself with those who would encourage her, and not tear her and her faith down.
In essence that is what Jesus is saying. Who is my family? Whoever does the will of Jesus is my family. That’s a great place to start.