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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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6/29/2004

Study of Mark: Mark 3:20-22 

Now Jesus went home, and a crowd gathered so that they were not able to eat. When his family heard this they went out to restrain him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
(Mark 3:20-22 NET)

After doing all the marvelous things that were mentioned before, Jesus goes home to Nazareth, to a warm reception from His family. They think he's nuts.

Now, under normal circumstances, I could understand this. If I had a brother, and all the sudden he started running around tapping people on the head and forgiving their sins, I'd probably wonder about the state of his mental health. We have to consider, though, one important thing.

They've been living with Mary their whole lives. Mary has told them all about Jesus, and the angel's visit, and the wise me and shepherds, and everything. She's talked about when they found Jesus in the temple, and the things He said there. So they know the story. They know who Mary and Joseph say that Jesus is supposed to be. And they STILL think that their brother Jesus is crazy. They are ignoring the obvious truth of who Christ is, choosing to believe something much easier.

People did that a lot back then. Elsewhere, we learn that there were people who believed that Jesus was John the Baptist reincarnated (Matthew 16:14). Since many people saw Jesus baptized by John the Baptist, that coulsn't possibly be true. They chose to believe that, though, rather than accept what He told them about who He was.

People still do that today. Jesus seems to be whatever the latest scholar thinks He should be -- everything from a rebel priest to a social reformer to a revolutionary leader. We tend to see Jesus as who we want Him to be, rather than who He really is. This is a result of modern scholarship deciding that there are no absolutes when it comes to the Biblical texts -- since they aren't inspired by God, we can pick and choose which passages we want to believe. If we find other texts that talk about Jesus that we like better, then we can believe in those, too. Pretty soon, we have our own, personal Jesus, who doesn't make us stop doing what we want to do, who just sits there and tells us what great people we are, and never requires anything from us as far as worship or devotion.

We are a people driven by convenience. We want to believe in God, but we don't want all the "baggage". We don't want to have to obey anyone, to follow anything resembling commandments, and don't you DARE tell us that our way might not be right.

Jesus was telling people the same thing. He was saying that the things that the Pharisees had been teaching them weren't the right path to God. He was teaching them things about the Messiah that they hadn't been taught. And when they asked who He was to teach them things like that, what authority did He have -- He showed them. Who has the kind of authority that Jesus showed over sickness? Who has the authority that He claimed when He forgave sin? Only God -- and the Jewish leaders knew that. They had two choices -- believe that He was who He said He was, and have to change centuries of beliefs, or they could believe that He was wrong, that He was guilty of blasphemy and had to be stoned. They chose the latter.

We need to think about what Jesus we believe in. Our own, personal, be whatever we want Him to be and never inconvenience us Jesus? Or the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word who, in the beginning, was with God and was God, by whom all things were created?


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