Normally, I try to be reasonably comprehensive in covering most, if not all the ideas, raised by a particular passage. For some reason, I neglected to say something about the last verses of the gospel. (Mark 3:31 – 35) Perhaps it is because it is a tough passage and for some reason, I did not want to face it. For those Christian traditions where Mary, Jesus mother, is highly revered, is probably even more challenging. But it’s teaching is, ultimately, simple. All our relationships, even our closest, need to be in the will of God. A pivotal teaching that is emphasised in the current series of readings from the book of Samuel, where the sovereignty of God is highlighted as the foundation of our lives.
The implications of this teaching are far-reaching and, if truly followed, would have a huge impact upon our society and our personal lives, particularly, in how we understand divorce.
There are many passages, particularly in the new Testament, that make the same point:
16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:16 – 23)
27 Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Matthew 19:27 – 30)