Summary: If you want to be part of Christ’s real family, then don’t reject Him as a lunatic; don’t revile him as a devil; receive Him as Lord.
For years an elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems, and for years his family tried again and again to persuade him to get a hearing aid, but he always refused. Then finally, one day, he gave in. He went to the doctor and was fitted for a set of one of those nearly invisible hearing aids that allowed him to hear 100 percent.
A month later he went back to the doctor. The doctor said with a smile, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”
The old man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!” (“Hearing Problems,” Crosswalk.com, 12-03-02; www.PreachingToday.com)
I wonder what WE would do if we heard some of the things our family members say when they think we can’t hear them. You see, sometimes even our own families can be very thoughtless. Our own mothers and fathers or brothers and sisters can say things about us that really hurt, such words that cut very deeply, simply because they are family. They are people who are supposed to know us best, so their thoughtless words end up hurting us the worst. My dear friends, that’s when life gets terribly lonely.
Well, Jesus Himself experienced that kind of loneliness, but He showed us the way to find true family. He showed us the way to find people, who truly care, to find a connection with people who truly understand. So 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.” (NIV)
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 earthy 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 Mark’s family in the 13th Century. His Italian mother had named him after the gospel writer Mark in the hopes that he too would tell the gospel truth. But 13th Century Europeans found it impossible to believe Mark’s tales of faraway lands. He claimed that, when he was only seventeen, he took an epic journey lasting a quarter of a century, taking him across the steppes of Russia, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, the wastelands of Persia, and over the top of the world through the Himalayas.
He was the first European to enter China. Through an amazing set of circumstances, he became a favorite of the most powerful ruler on planet earth, the Kublai Khan. Mark saw cities that made European capitals look like roadside villages. The Khan’s palace dwarfed the largest castles and cathedrals in Europe. It was so massive that its banquet room alone could seat 6,000 diners at one time, each eating on a plate of pure gold.
Mark saw the world’s first paper money and marveled at the explosive power of gunpowder. It would be another 500 years before Europe would manufacture as much steel as China was producing in the year 1267. Mark became the first Italian to taste that Chinese culinary invention, pasta. And as an officer of the Khan’s court, he traveled to places no European would see for another 500 years.
Then after serving the Kublai Khan for 17 years, Mark began his journey home to Venice, loaded down with gold, silk, and spices. When he arrived home, people dismissed his stories of a mythical place called China. His family priest rebuked him for telling lies. And at his deathbed, his family, friends, and priest begged him to recant his tales of China. But setting his jaw and gasping for breath, Mark spoke his final words, “I have not even told you half of what I saw.”
13th Century Europeans rejected his stories as the tales of a liar or a lunatic, but history has proven the truth of those stories, which he wrote in a book about his adventures called The Travels of Marco Polo. (Dr. Robert Petterson in a sermon given at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 11-8-09; www.PreachingToday. com)
The same thing happened 13 hundred years before that when Jesus began 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 that 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. That’s what his earthly family thought. But if you want to be a part of his real family, then…