Who Defines You?

One of my favorite types of humor is mistaken identity, like the Flight of the Conchords song above. The confusion and delightful misdirection as the mis-identified man tries to sort through the woman’s description of their relationship. I never get tired of that video. Mistaken identity like that can be fun – but usually when someone defines our identity improperly, it takes a heavy toll.

We’ll be reading about people mis-identifying Jesus in our text this week as we continue our study in Mark’s gospel. We’ll be reading 3:20-35, which will finish up the chapter.

In this section, Jesus’ family and the religious leaders from Jerusalem define Jesus as either crazy or demonic. The two groups of people who were most qualified to identify who Jesus is completely fail to do so.

This passage has a chiastic structure and is an example of Mark’s way of framing one episode with another…in other words, we will be enjoying a Markian sandwich this Sunday!

Here is how the text is structured:

verse 20  Crowd
verse 21  Family
verse 22  Scribes (accusation)
verses 23-27  The parable of plundering the satan’s possesions
verses 28-30  Scribes (warned about their accusation)
verse 31  Family
verse 32  Crowd

Why do you think Jesus’ family were so concerned about his behavior? Why do you suppose that they didn’t understand his mission? What do you think was motivating the religious leaders in their opposition to him? How significant do you think Jesus’ redefinition of family is in v35?

All of this will provide us with some insights about how we see ourselves and how it is that our own identity is defined.  Plus, we’ll have a talk about v28-30 and alleviate any unnecessary fears about the U.P.S. (un-pardonable sin). Hope to see you on Sunday!

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