“Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, ‘He’s out of his mind.’” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Doing something new and different can be tough. It’s hard to find support. No one is really sure if it will succeed, and they don’t want to throw much of an investment of time, talent, or treasure behind a bet that just isn’t very sure. When we go to enter this kind of territory, it is good to know that we at least have a home base of support somewhere. This can often come by way of loving parents. I’ve always had this. Perhaps you have too. You know who didn’t? Jesus.
Jesus’ ministry was still just getting off the ground at this point in Mark’s Gospel. He has been fairly successful at home, but He was starting to branch out into some new places and that had to have been scary.
For many folks, this would be the moment when they call their parents in order to get some encouragement. There’s nothing quite like having Mom and Dad give you the assurance they’re behind you no matter what. Well, as perhaps you know entirely too personally, sometimes this doesn’t come when or how you want it to come.
Maybe they urge caution you didn’t want to observe. Perhaps they find some flaws in your plans that you hadn’t considered. It could be simply they think it’s too big of an idea for you. Experiencing this kind of reaction can feel like a crushing rejection even when it isn’t really.
If you’ve ever been through something like this, take heart. You’re not the only one. In fact, you’ve got pretty good company to sit with you and empathize. That company is Jesus Himself. If you’ve ever been rejected by your family, know well that Jesus was too. As a matter of fact, Jesus’ rejection was probably greater and more painful than yours was. That’s what we see here as Jesus has moved on to the next place to continue His ministry.
Jesus has gone to yet another place and drawn another enormous crowd. Think about Jesus’ family for a minute. Given that Mark only mentions His mother, brothers, and sisters a few verses down from this, we can assume that Joseph has already died. But they’ve been watching Him now for months build this incredible following. At first they were proud and excited. Their brother and son had become a famous rabbi.
And then He started provoking controversy with the Pharisees. At first they laughed along with everyone else. But then the tension started to rise and they weren’t laughing anymore. People started to ask them questions about Jesus and what He was doing and saying. Did He think He was the Messiah? Did they think He was the Messiah? Perhaps some of the Pharisees themselves even paid a visit, offering them some encouragement to give counsel for caution to their wayward son and brother. He was going to bring trouble on Himself and that kind of trouble had a way of reflecting back on one’s family…
For whatever reason, this moment marked the final straw for them. They went to where He was and they had one goal. They were going to bring Him home, by force if necessary. They wanted to restrain Him from bringing anymore embarrassment and trouble on Himself…and them. They thought He had finally lost His mind. We’ll see next week how this played out. I’ll tell you now: It wasn’t pretty.
But what does this mean for us? How is this more than simply a wild story? I think there are two things. First and as we’ve just said, if you’ve experienced resistance or rejection from your family for something you knew you should be doing, Jesus understands. His family thought He was crazy and wanted to lock Him up. They eventually came around, but not until after the resurrection. In other words, He went to His grave knowing His family didn’t believe in Him.
Second, if you are committed to advancing the kingdom of God, you are going to experience some pushback for that and sometimes that pushback is going to come from intensely personal sources. The devil doesn’t play fair. He’s got no interest in that. If he can strike where it hurts and leave you not wanting to go on, he’ll go for it. When this happens, respond with grace, respond with humility, respond with kindness, respond with love, but keep going. Don’t ever be unwilling to receive wise counsel, but don’t let misunderstanding resistance dissuade you from the path of Christ.
Following Jesus isn’t easy. Being Jesus wasn’t easy. We do it anyway because that’s where life lies. Keep up the good work.