Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:19-20 (NIV)
If you stop and think about it, this slice from Jesus’ life in the gospel of Mark is a bit puzzling. The tendency with a short passage of scripture like this is to be quick to lightly pass over it or to gloss over the really important truth it intends to convey. But if we pause and look for the hidden wisdom we’ll find at least three lessons worth considering.
First let’s look at this from Jesus’ perspective.
1. If people come to you with needs that you can meet and it messes with your schedule, postpone your plans and minister to the need. God is in it and you’ll be happy you did. Bottom line – that is why you are on the planet.
That is exactly what Jesus was doing. He was focused wholly on ministering to those in need who were coming to Him – healing the sick and casting out demons. He was not concerned about missed meal times. Jesus explained this to His disciples when He was ministering to the Samaritan woman. “I have a food you know nothing about… My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” (John 4:32 &34)
Jesus was a man on a mission. He came to literally take over the world, destroy the works of its evil ruler and establish His eternal kingdom. He came as the light of the world to deliver people out of the darkness of sin and sickness. He came to pour out His life as a brutal sacrifice that He might defeat death itself.
His was no when-it-is-convenient approach to fulfilling that mission. His followers are charged with the same mission and need to be as intent on accomplishing it as He was.
Now let us look at this passage from His families perspective.
2. Be careful you do not find yourself opposing a ministry you don’t have a frame of reference for or understand. It may appear “crazy” to you but God just might be in it. Don’t try to stop it. You may find yourself opposing God.
Isn’t it strange that people who should know better, had such a misguided view of Jesus and what He is doing? I mean, here you have family members thinking He is insane and engineering an intervention to save Him from Himself. How weird is that, a plan to save Jesus?
At this point in Mark’s gospel Jesus is just months into His public ministry. The family is still reeling from the amazing change they had seen in Jesus’ life since His journey down to that desert prophet who was baptizing in the Jordan.
In the first three chapters Mark provides us a unique glimpse into the intensity of Jesus’ ministry. He takes us from Jesus’ baptism and forty days of temptation to rock-star-like status where news of the miracles was drawing huge crowds from all over Israel and beyond. The sick and the afflicted were mobbing Him everywhere He went in hopes of touching Him and being healed.
His family did not see the same man they thought they knew these past thirty years. Their reaction to the change in Jesus indicates that their lives and view of Jesus had not yet been enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
Note to self: when I see a ministry that doesn’t make sense to me I may need to be enlightened as well. At that point it is good to hold our tongue and ask God for understanding.
And finally one last caveat:
3. If you are seeking to follow Jesus and minister in His name don’t be surprised if people, even family members, think you are crazy. You are in good company.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts on this passage.