Summary: This message shows the lonely how to find true family in their relationship with Christ. Jesus’ own family thought He was crazy. The religious leaders thought he was the devil. But His own followers, members of His true family obey Him as Lord.
Are You My Mother? (Mark 3:20-35)
Helene Talbert, of Wahpeton, North Dakota, remembers that after completing her first semester at a Christian college, she had a lot to tell her family. Just before going home, they had had an open house in her dorm. It’s one of the few times men were allowed in the women’s rooms. When some male friends came to visit, Helene wanted them to check out the huge closets.
“We can fit four or five in the closet without clothes,” she bragged to her parents and brother.
After a stunned silence, her mother exclaimed, “Without clothes?”
Helene immediately clarified things – the closet was stripped bare, not the bodies in it. (Helene Talbert, Wahpeton, North Dakota, “Lite Fare,” Christian Reader, www.PreachingToday. com)
Sometimes, even our own families misunderstand us. Now, this is a humorous example, easily corrected, but often it’s not so funny.
Mothers and Fathers, brothers and sisters, can misinterpret what we’re trying to do, and sometimes accuse us of some hurtful things. Their words can cut very deeply, because they are family. They are people who are supposed to know us best, and for that reason their thoughtless words can hurt the worst. That’s when life gets terribly lonely.
Jesus experienced this kind of loneliness, but he showed us the way to find true family, to find people who truly care, to find a connection with people who understand.
And if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Mark 3,
Mark 3, where Jesus talks about his true family.
Mark 3:20-21 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.”
Literally, he is standing beside himself. The term describes someone who is “ecstatic in the sense of psychic derangement” (Lane). Jesus misses a meal, and His own earthly family thinks He’s crazy! They come from 30 miles away to “take charge of him” or to arrest him. They want to seize him and forcibly bring him home.
It reminds me of poor Gulliver in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a story about a shipwrecked man who finds himself in a strange land with bizarre people, cultures and societies. It’s really a subtle satire about the abuse of political power, and in one place, Gulliver is a giant, and in another, he is a tiny fraction of everyone else’s size.
It’s a strange and wonderful tale, but when he gets home nobody believes him. In the movie version, Gulliver is placed in a large mental hospital where the administrators are trying to decide whether Gulliver is sane and should be released or insane and should be confined for another year.
One of the administrators condemns Gulliver: “He’s insane. He must be kept locked up. He’s a lunatic gibbering against mankind and tearing down all shreds of decency and modesty…”
Gulliver responds, “I’ve tried only to speak the truth as I saw it.”
“What arrogance!” answers the administrator. “What presumption! To show men what they are and teach them what to be! You are either a liar, sir, or a lunatic! Which is it?”
Then another administrator addresses Gulliver. “You’re clearly suffering from a disease of the mind. The journey never really happened except in your own head. And all we ask is that you acknowledge this. When you have done that, then you may leave. What do you say?”
Gulliver doesn’t answer at first. Then he announces to everyone, “Every single thing I have told you is the truth. It happened to me.”
A third administrator jumps in, “Why do you persist? You say you saw these things that no one else has ever seen, these fantastical places. Have you proof?”
And just as they are about to lock Gulliver up for another year, his 8-year-old son comes forward holding a small box. He opens the box, and a miniature sheep, about 5-inches-high, steps out and walks across the table, making a “ba-a-a-ing” sound. (Gulliver’s Travels, Jim Henson Productions and NBC, 1996; directed by Charles Sturridge, screenplay by Simon Moore; Tape two – 01:23:50 to 01:27:25; www.PreachingToday.com)
In the story, Gulliver IS telling the truth even though it seems outrageous.
Well, imagine what the people thought when they heard Jesus talking about a strange place called “the Kingdom of God.” Even His own family thought He was insane, especially when He claimed to be the King of this Kingdom.
Tell me. What would YOU think about someone who made such claims today? We could only conclude that such a person was crazy! Jesus doesn’t leave us with very many options.
EITHER JESUS IS A LUNATIC.