Embracing Mark 3:33-35: How A Spiritual Family Shapes Your Faith

God’s grace is sufficient for salvation, but we aren’t looking if we don’t see that grace at work in every aspect of our lives. By CAPTAIN MEAGAN RUFF

Growing up, I was the only follower of Jesus in my family. Both of my parents had an understanding of church and who Jesus was, but neither of them chose to let Him impact their heart or lives. I went alone to Vacation Bible School, went with friends or neighbors to youth group and walked myself to church on every Sunday morning. 

One time, I was grounded from youth group, and I thought my life was over. In my room, I cried, “You don’t understand!” into my pillow for hours. It was a bit dramatic, but I truly felt that my parents didn’t comprehend what and who they were keeping me from. I was experiencing the real family of God. My friends at church, my youth leaders, parents of other teens and other adults in the congregation were my family. They were my mother and my brothers and my sisters. This community of faith that I found myself in was so unlike my family at home, and I longed for the times each week when I would be with my faith family. 

As an adult with kids of my own, I think back on my teenage self and cringe. My crying was over the top, and even though my parents weren’t believers at the time, they did love me and intended to set boundaries that were fair and appropriate. 

The passage in Mark 3 was easy for me to resonate with as a teen, but it holds even more significance now. Mark 3:33-35 (NIV) says, “‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”

Jesus isn’t discounting the blessing of family, but emphasizing the blessing of the family of God. That’s crucial to us as believers. The family of God helped raise me, pray for me and disciple me into the woman I am today. 

This passage in Mark is also a grace for the believer when we fail our own families. I want to be supportive, kind and loving all the time, but I know that I can’t. And the family of God will step in when I can no longer do it. Or when I mess it all up. It is built-in grace. God’s grace is sufficient for salvation, but we aren’t looking if we don’t see that grace at work in every aspect of our lives. 

Mark 3:35 (NIV)

Dig Deeper:

Who are the people in the family of God who have stepped in and supported you? Take the time to send them a text, or pray for them, and acknowledge how thankful you are to be in God’s family together. 


Lord, thank you for the ways You’ve supported me through your family on earth. Help me to care for those in my family, and give me grace when I mess up. Amen.  

Daily Readings

  • December 1: Mark 1:1-3
  • December 2: Mark 1:4-8
  • December 3: Mark 1:9-13
  • December 4: Mark 1:14-15
  • December 5: Mark 1:16-20
  • December 6: Mark 1:21-28
  • December 7: Mark 1:29-34
  • December 8: Mark 1:35-39
  • December 9: Mark 1:40-45
  • December 10: Mark 2:1-5
  • December 11: Mark 2:6-12
  • December 12: Mark 2:13-14
  • December 13: Mark 2:15-17
  • December 14: Mark 2:18-20
  • December 15: Mark 2:21-22
  • December 16: Mark 2:23-28
  • December 17: Mark 3:1-6
  • December 18: Mark 3:7-12
  • December 19: Mark 3:13-19
  • December 20: Mark 3:20-29
  • December 21: Mark 3:30-35
  • December 22: Mark 4:1-8
  • December 23: Mark 4:9-12
  • December 24: Mark 4:13-20
  • December 25: Mark 4:21-23
  • December 26: Mark 4:24-25
  • December 27: Mark 4:26-29
  • December 28: Mark 4:30-32
  • December 29: Mark 4:33-34
  • December 30: Mark 4:35-38
  • December 31: Mark 4:39-41

This article was originally titled “Lean on Me” in the December 2023 issue of Peer. | Flower Illustration by Lan Truong and verse illustration Saskia Bueno

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