The Family We Really Long For
Passage: Mark 3:31–35
Community Group Questions: Family Matters - Mark 3:31-34 - "The Family We Really Long For"
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- Christ Community Church is starting a four-part series called “Family Matters: being the family of God, reaching the family for God.” Take time to share with the group about your family background. What kind of family did you grow up in? What does your family look like now? What are some of the deepest pains and greatest joys that you’ve faced in family life so far?
- Read Mark 3:20-21, and 31-35. This unusual story makes a powerful point about the nature of Jesus’ spiritual family. As you read the story initially, what questions immediately come to mind? Are there any aspects of the story that sound offensive? How so?
- In verse 20, Jesus returns “home” (very likely Simon Peter’s house in Capernaum, which Jesus used as his base of operations for his Galilean ministry – see Mark 1:29, 2:2). However, we’re told that the crowds pressed in so eagerly that Jesus didn’t even have time to eat! Mark’s gospel records Jesus’ rise to fame that resulted from healing the sick, casting out demons, and challenging the religious authorities. The crowds were flocking to him. Why do you think Jesus would minister to these crowds so relentlessly, even to the point of neglecting to eat? What do we learn about Jesus’ heart from this verse?
- According to verse 21, word traveled back to Jesus’ family about the overwhelming crowds and the relentless schedule of ministry that Jesus was maintaining. The family became deeply concerned that Jesus was going “out of his mind”! Apparently, they concluded that all the fame had gone to Jesus’ head, driving him to overwork, pushing him to mental exhaustion and imbalance (he even forgot to eat!). Furthermore, Jesus’ teaching was drawing dangerous attention from the religious authorities (see Mark 2:24, 3:22). In light of all of this, the family intended to go and “seize him” (that is, forcibly pull Jesus away) and bring him home to get some rest. In your opinion, was the family right or wrong to go and get Jesus? What would you have done if you were in their shoes?
- In verses 31-35, Jesus’ family arrives, but they’re blocked from speaking because of the thick crowd around the house. When Jesus is notified that his family was seeking him, he shockingly suggests that he doesn’t even recognize them! On the contrary, Jesus points to his followers and says, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” What do Jesus’ words teach us about family loyalty verses loyalty to the spiritual family of God?
- What does Jesus’ proclamation teach us about the church-as-family? How does this family dynamic get developed in other passages of the New Testament? (see Matt. 6:9, Romans 8:14-17, Ephesians 2:19, Colossians 1:2, Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 2:11)
- What qualities do we see in natural families that we should imitate in our life together as a church family?
- In your opinion, what things can we do better as a church to function like a family, to treat each other like family, and to welcome others into the family of Christ? How can our community group play a special part in ministering to one another as a spiritual family?
Prayer suggestion: Spend time praying about the suggestions made in question 8. Pray for our church, that we would grow as a Christ-centered family!