Notes On Mark’s Gospel (39)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

A Death to Die (Chapter 3 Verses 31-35)

It seems strange to find the godly mother of Jesus (Luke 1.30, 46; Acts 1.14) involved in this (v31). Was she an instigator of what is happening here, did she doubt? Or was she perhaps dragged along by the unbelieving brothers of Jesus (John 7.5)? Whatever, she is where she ought not to be. I think perhaps Mary like every other Christian woman, though she had rejoiced in her Saviour (Luke 1.47), she had to grow in her faith as with the other disciples. After she had stood beneath that cross (John 19.25), Mary would never be the same shallow Christian again. There comes a time, does there not, when we must look at ourselves? I mean, are we really content with our Christianity, as individuals, or at Church level? Are our Christian lives broadening out? Are they deepening day by day? Are we going to be content with a superficial, a Cross-less life and Christianity? Maybe, like Mary, to just stand beneath the shadow of Calvary again, and to contemplate, to meditate. Maybe there needs to be a renewed self- surrender to Jesus? I only ask.

The question posed and answered by Jesus regarding who his family members were (vv33-35), opens up this very relationship to any who would enter, whosoever. But at the same time narrows it down to those only who will do God’s will. Because that is what unites us to Jesus, doing what God says (John 6.29). That is what brings us into the family of the Church, and of believers (John 1.12; Galatians 3.26-29; Ephesians 2.19-22). By turning from our sin, repenting, and believing on Jesus, we are given new life (James 1.18; John 3.3; Ephesians 2.1-5), new hope (Romans 5.2-5), new joy (1Peter 1.8), new peace (Philippians 4.7). It brings us to the place of belonging to a family that transcends national boundaries, and even earthly ones. The family of believers takes supreme place in Jesus thinking, it must do so in ours too. How often we allow earthly relations, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children even, to become supreme in our lives, over Jesus (Matthew 10.37; Luke 14.26-27)? The only place such idolatrous ties can be broken? Go back again to the foot of the Cross, and to the place of total self-surrender –

“O Cross, that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red,
Life that shall endless be” (G. Matheson)

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

Sermon Audio


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