Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Baruch 6:1-39 (thought to be a Letter of Jeremiah) – Jeremiah tells them what to expect in exile. He asks them to beware of becoming like the foreigners or “of letting fear for [their] gods possess you when you see the multitude before and behind them worshiping them. But say in your heart,’ It is you, O Lord, whom we must worship.’ For my angel is with you, and he is watching over your lives.” (6:5-6) They are false gods; they “cannot speak” (6:8). No one should be afraid of these foreign “gods” – they have “no breath of life in them” (6:23); “they cannot move on their own” (6:26); they “give nothing to the poor or to the helpless” (6:27).
Mark 3:20-35 – Jesus returns to his home, Nazareth, and there were so many people, the disciples are overwhelmed. His relatives come “to restrain him” because people are saying he is crazy (2:21). And the scribes or “teachers” from Jerusalem think he is possessed too (3:22). Jesus counters them by saying that he could not have “Beelzebul in him” (3:22) because that would mean Satan would be casting out Satan and if Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself it would not continue to stand (3:25). A lot of what Jesus says here lacks sufficient context to really make me (the reader) feel confident that I am understanding what is being said. I get it that “a house divided against itself cannot stand” – Lincoln helped me get that, but exactly how that applies to Jesus’ situation is not so clear.
When Jesus’ mother and brothers come to get him, he seems to put them down by saying that his true family is made up of the family of believers, not his biological relatives: “‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (3:33-35).