What does Mark 3:34 mean?
ESV: And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
NIV: Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers!
NASB: And looking around at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, 'Here are My mother and My brothers!
CSB: Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!
NLT: Then he looked at those around him and said, 'Look, these are my mother and brothers.
KJV: And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
Verse Commentary:
Biological families, and intense loyalty to those bloodlines, are the building blocks of a patriarchal society. Order, safety, provision, and honor are all tied to the family. Jesus turns this cultural presumption upside-down.

The terminology of family is widespread throughout the New Testament church. The book of Acts uses the term "brothers" in more than twenty verses, very few of which are speaking about biological family. Their context is that of the spiritual family of the church. In Romans, Paul calls the believers who live there "brothers" even though he's never met them. He tells Timothy to treat church members as fathers, brothers, mothers, and sisters (1 Timothy 5:1–2).

This is the second time in this chapter Jesus has "looked around" the synagogue at the people, sitting and listening. The first is in Mark 3:5 when He looks over the Pharisees who watch to see if He will heal a man on the Sabbath. His reaction to the Pharisees' hard hearts is anger and grief. Now, in a packed room in a packed house, Jesus looks around and sees the people there as a spiritual "family." They aren't waiting for Jesus to slip up. They aren't conspiring against Him. They don't think He's an embarrassment. They just want to listen to what He has to say, and absorb the truth.

Just as Jesus redefines family, He redefines religious community. Mark mentions only one more time when Jesus will teach at a synagogue. It will be in Nazareth, His home town, and He will be soundly rejected (Mark 6:1–6).

Gatherings are important in the life of a church. If those gatherings happen to fall in the same place at the same time each week, that's great. But it isn't the building or the ceremony that makes a church. It's the group of people who come to learn about God, worship Him, and obey Him. They may meet in a designated building, a home, the seashore, or a mountaintop. The same qualities that define a godly church also describe the family of God: faith in Christ (John 1:12; Galatians 3:25–29) and obedience to God (Mark 3:35).
Verse Context:
Mark 3:31–35 is this section's final account of the reactions people have toward Jesus' ministry. Here, Jesus redefines the concept of ''family.'' His mother and brothers, some thinking He is out of His mind, have come to bring Him back to Nazareth (Mark 3:21). In contrast, a large group fills a home, probably Peter and Andrew's, intently listening to Jesus teach. Jesus declares that it is this audience—those who do God's will—who are His family, not the people who are related by blood. This account is also found in Matthew 12:46–50 and Luke 8:19–21.
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 4/18/2024 8:36:15 PM
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