Read Mark 3:20-35. Can anyone point out the “sandwich” or A-B-A pattern? Hans Bayer writes in A Theology of Mark, “Mark will interrupt a narrative by inserting another pericope [episode] and then return to the previous subject (see Mark 3:20-21, 22-30, 31-35; 4:1-9, 10-13, 14-20; and especially 14:1-2, 3-9, 10-11; 14:17-21, 22-26, 27-31; 14:53-54, 55-65, 66-72). James Edwards contends that the isolated pericope [episode] holds the key (especially by way of illustration or contrast) to the interpretive purpose of the entire A-B-A unit: ‘the insertion interprets the flanking halves.'”

Jesus is about restoring God’s people to full functionality (withered  restored hand). How is supreme loyalty to Christ and his people actually better for our families and nations? Where have you seen supreme loyalty to biological family go wrong? What about ultimate allegiance to nation?blood and water

How is this teaching relevant if your whole biological family is a part of the church? Can problems still crop up? How so? If you have encountered problems like this how did you handle it?

In Mark 3:35 Jesus says that those who do the will of God are his true family. What does this have to do with salvation? (see John 3:36 and view of salvation, believing and obedience) What would change if more people saw the worldwide church as part of salvation?

How has God used members of the church like family in your life?

How might Thanksgiving be a way for you to apply the “water is thicker than blood” teaching of Jesus?

Is it easier or harder to grow as Jesus’ disciple in your family than in the church or in a parachurch organization? Explain. (taken from Wilkins, Following the Master)