What does Mark 3:21 mean?
ESV: And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
NIV: When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.'
NASB: And when His own people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, 'He has lost His senses.'
CSB: When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, "He's out of his mind."
NLT: When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. 'He’s out of his mind,' they said.
KJV: And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
NKJV: But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
Verse Commentary:
The chain of events that lead Jesus' family to worry about Him is not clear. As is common for literature of the time, the Gospels tend to group passages by theme instead of chronology. As a result, we don't know if Jesus has returned to Nazareth since His ministry started. We do know that people from all over Galilee, Judea, and beyond have come to see Him, and Nazareth is only about twenty miles from Capernaum. In Mark 6:1–6, Jesus will return, just to be rudely rejected by the people in His hometown.

So it's possible that people from Nazareth have gone to Capernaum for healing and returned, shocked to learn that the healer is Jesus. It's also possible that travelers have gone to Capernaum for healing and come back through Nazareth. Either way, the people from Nazareth refuse to believe that a man whom they have watched grow up could be an important prophet, let alone the Messiah. Whereas the scribes believe Jesus is demon-possessed (Mark 3:22), His townsmen think He's crazy.

"Out of his mind" comes from the Greek root word existemi. It means to be mentally displaced. The same word is used when Jesus heals the paralytic (Mark 2:12) and Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:42), and when He calms the storm after walking on water (Mark 6:51). In this case, however, it means that Jesus' actions—seemingly out of control, to His family—can have a serious effect on the wellbeing of His family. So they resolve to find Him and. Most likely, to take Him back to Nazareth.

Jesus has four brothers and at least two sisters (Matthew 13:55–56). Eventually, after the resurrection, at least two of His brothers will accept Him as their savior. James wrote the New Testament book in his name and became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Jude, author of the New Testament book that bears his name, also became a believer. They and Mary will be with the disciples on Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Verse Context:
Mark 3:13–21 is the third story about the reactions people had to Jesus' ministry. Here, we establish which men Jesus chooses to be in His inner circle. Jesus separates ''the twelve'' for special training so they can be equipped to heal (Matthew 10:1), cast out demons, and spread the gospel. Other than Peter's mother-in-law (Mark 1:30–31), there is no record that Jesus performed miracles of healing for them. But they have witnessed Jesus' power and authority, and are willing to dedicate themselves to His teaching. This is a stark contrast to Jesus' own family. This account is also recorded in Matthew 10:1–4 and Luke 6:12–16.
Chapter Summary:
The bulk of chapter 3 deals with how different people react to Jesus' teaching and His assumption of authority. The Pharisees' confusion transitions into plotting. The crowds that continually follow Jesus for healing become more frenetic and dangerous. Jesus' own family, afraid for His sanity, try to pull Him away. But true followers also show themselves. Twelve join together to become a core group, while a slightly bigger crowd, more interested in Jesus' teaching than miracles, earn the honor of being called His true family.
Chapter Context:
Mark chapter 3 continues in the same pattern as chapter 2, describing various teaching and healing encounters from the life of Jesus. These events are used to explain Jesus' overall message and demonstrate His power. They also serve to show how different people react to His teachings. Chapter 4 will focus more on Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/26/2024 7:26:37 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com