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21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. (Mad!)

What a view to entertain of Christ! It was the only conclusion which the very sane and proper mediocrities of Christ's family friends could arrive at in the contemplation of a man and his performances so altogether above them.

Had that man been a stranger, they might have thought better of him, but "Jesus, the carpenter," their own brother, whom they had known from his boyhood, and who had come out and in among them in a quiet familiar way -- it was intolerable to their small self-loves that such an one should set up as a teacher come from God; and it was easy for them in that temper, to discover madness in his continuous application to public work, and in the crowding of the people to hear him in such numbers that it was with difficulty that Jesus and his disciples could so much as eat bread. For as yet, "neither did his brethren believe on him" (Jno. vii. 5).

Nazareth Revisited

31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Jesus did not receive the intimation with any great manifestation of respect for his relations according to the flesh, thus conspicuously introduced to notice...

He did not own to the claim implied in the assertion of blood relationship.

In the world, then as now, blood relation was everything: with Jesus, it was nothing outside the special relation he had come to create -- the relation of men to God in reconciliation, love, and obedience. If mothers and brothers were inside the circle of this relation, well and good; if not, he was not theirs, nor they his. He did not know any man after the flesh. His mother and his brothers were to be found among those who did the will of God. To this doctrine, he gave emphatic enunciation at this time...

Did Jesus mean then to ignore the command of God by Moses that father and mother should be honoured, and that near of kin were to be regarded? Nothing could be further from the purpose of him who came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil. He did not mean to undermine the force of any divine law, but rather to enforce the foundation of all law -- viz., the doing of the will of God. He meant to say that where this foundation was absent, no law and no relation had any efficacy.

The Jews were very zealous for human custom and tradition, and for divine enactment only in so far as it was in harmony with these. They were zealous for their distinction as the chosen nation, for circumcision as the token of it: for their laws and customs as its fence and protection, but not zealous of God Himself or His will as such. And, therefore, it came to pass that even the part of their service that was according to the law, was unacceptable: the offering of sacrifices and the holding of feasts, which, as God said by Isaiah, had become intolerable (Isa. i. 11-14).

On the same principle, Jesus taught that natural relationship was of no force if there were not engrafted upon it the affectionate recognition of God, the loving submission to His will in all things -- of which he himself was the highest example.

Nazareth Revisited - In collision with the Pharisees