Focusing on the theme of “houses” Mark presents the growing conflict between Jesus and the religious establishment. Those who trust God and understand Jesus’ mission are in the household of God (vs 34-35), in fellowship with him and sharing in his mission to bind the devil and plunder his house.(vs 27) The irony is that those who think they’re defending God’s house are actually opposed to it – symbolised by their location – his family and the Pharisees are outside, questioning his sanity and accusing him of harnessing demonic power. There are two points here: Firstly, God’s ways seem crazy to those who don’t understand his mission but amazing to those who do. Secondly, those who question God’s ways are often motivated by rebellion against him. We can apply this in two ways.
1. It helps us to understand the trends of opposition to Christian morality around us. Those Christians who campaign for the Church to change its moral teaching often don’t understand God’s mission. We see this exemplified in the recent debate on abortion in Ireland. They are like Jesus’ family, they think they are saving the Church by keeping it up to date, but they are actually unwittingly undermining its mission. Whether it be campaigning to liberalise abortion laws, de-spiritualising the faith, affirming homosexual relationships or any other revision of historical Christian morality or doctrine, it is usually motivated by a lack of understanding of God and his plans. Moreover, they are often influenced by the more polarised assertions of those who, like the Pharisees, desire to live free from God’s control and thus consider God’s commands not just to be crazy, but evil. On a more personal note, when we are tempted to reject God’s Word in our own lives, perhaps by compromising our morality in some way, we should recognise that it’s either because we don’t understand his ways or because we don’t want to obey him. Either way we should humbly trust his goodness and wisdom, and ask him to help us understand his commands.
2. The passage also speak to us about when we find God’s work in our lives to incomprehensible, when we think that what God is doing is crazy or even evil in the things he allows to happen to us. When we understand God’s purposes, the things he takes us through make sense. God isn’t just interested in making us happy servants – he wants to make us like Christ! We are to be sons and daughters of God who know his love and love like him, freely and fully in every part of our lives. When God takes us through difficult times, we should consider it discipline (Heb 12:7-11). Our light and momentary troubles are achieving and eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Cor 4:17) When we grasp this, we don’t have peace, but we can join in with God’s purposes, asking him to show us what he is doing and cooperating with the Holy Spirit.