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17. Mary, mother of Jesus
17-1 Mary: Our Representative || 17-2 Mary’s Character: 17-2-1 The Loneliness Of Mary || 17-2-2 The Spiritual Ambition Of Mary || 17-2-3 Hannah And Mary || 17-2-4 A Bible Mind: Mary And The Magnificat || 17-2-5 The Faith Of Mary || 17-2-6 Mary And The Virgin Of Isaiah 7 || 17-2-7 The Humility Of Mary || 17-3 Mary In Crisis: 17-3-1 Mary’s Crisis Of Faith || 17-3-2 Mary And Jesus In The Temple || 17-3-3 Mary At Cana || 17-3-4 Mary And Her Other Children || 17-3-5 Mary In Mid-Life Crisis || 17-3-6 The Jesus-Mary Relationship || 17-4 Mary’s Victory: 17-4-1 Mary At The Cross || 17-4-2 The Influence Of Mary || 17-4-3 The Psychological Matrix Of Jesus

17-3-4 Mary And Her Other Children

d. Standing Outside The House

When she stands outside the house asking to speak with Jesus, Mary is identified with her other children who considered Jesus crazy. Jesus says that His mothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. This must have so cut her. There is a rather unpleasant connection between Mk. 3:32 “they stood without” and Mark 4:11 " unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables" . And further, Lk. 13:25 speaks of how the rejected shall stand without [same words] knocking and asking to speak with the Lord. Mk. 3:20 RVmg. says that Jesus came home- i.e. to the family home in Nazareth, and it turned out that the interested visitors took the house over, with His relatives, mother, brothers, sisters etc. left outside (Mk. 3:21 RVmg.). No wonder the point was made that He now had a new family; and His natural family, Mary amongst them, resented it. 

The incident of Mary and her other children coming to Jesus is inserted by Mark in the context of his record that the Scribes concluded that He had “an unclean spirit”. In that same context, we read that Mary and His brothers concluded that He was “beside himself” (Mk. 3:21,22). The language of demon / unclean spirit possession is used in the Gospels to describe mental rather than physical illness. The Scribes thought that Jesus was demon possessed; His family and mother thought He was mentally ill. The two thoughts are parallel, as if to imply that His family had been influenced by the prevailing opinion of the elders about Him. The Lord responded to the Scribes by warning them that they ran the risk of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by saying this of Him. And it would appear that His own mother may have been running the same risk. This is such a tragic difference from the young, spiritually minded woman who was so convinced that her Son was indeed Messiah and the uniquely begotten Son of God. And it happened simply because she was influenced by what others thought of Jesus, rather than what she had learnt from the word and experienced herself. It’s a powerful warning to us. 

In Mk. 3:21,31-35 we read of how “his own” family thought He was crazy and came to talk to Him. Then we read that it was His mother and brothers who demanded an audience with Him, perhaps linking Mary with her other children. Their cynicism of Jesus, their lack of perception of Him, came to influence her- for He effectively rebuffs her special claims upon Him by saying that His mother and brethren are all who hear God’s word. The parallel Mt. 12:46-50 five times repeats the phrase “his mother and his brethren”, as if to link her with them. Clearly the brothers, who didn’t believe in Jesus (Jn. 7:5) influenced her. When He speaks of how His real family are those who hear the word of God and do it, the Lord is alluding to Dt. 33:9, where we have the commendation of Levi for refusing to recognize his apostate brethren at the time of the golden calf: “Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren…for they [Levi] have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant”. The last sentence is  the essence of the Lord’s saying that His true family are those who keep God’s word and do it. The strong implication of the allusion is that the Lord felt that His mother and brethren had committed some kind of apostasy.  

Note how in Mk. 3:32 we read that “thy mother and brethren seek for thee”, and in Mk. 1:37 the same word occurred: “all men seek for thee" ; and also in Lk. 2:45, of how Mary sought for Jesus. The similarity is such that the intention may be to show us how Mary had been influenced by the world's perception of Him. And we too can be influenced by the world’s light hearted view of the Lord of glory. It’s so easy to allow their patterns of language use to lead us into blaspheming, taking His Name in vain, seeing His religion as just a hobby, a social activity… 

In passing, it was not that the Lord was insensitive or discounted her. It is in Mt. 12:46 that Mary wanted to speak with Him, and presumably she did- but then He goes to His home town, back to where she had come from (Mt. 13:54), as if He did in fact pay her attention .