Summary: Either you is, or you ain't
It is important to point out at the beginning, that the reason Jesus’ mother and brothers have come is to take Him quietly back home to Nazareth. They think He has gone crazy. They’re probably slightly embarrassed; standing outside this crowded house, asking someone nearer the door to call inside and coax Jesus out so they can talk with Him.
He is in Capernaum. He has been doing miracles and preaching, and has apparently had very little rest for some time; and by all witness accounts, not enough to eat.
Verse 20 says that the multitude were so pressing on the house in order to hear a word from Jesus, or perhaps to be touched by Him, that He and His recently chosen 12 could not even find time for bread.
When His own people saw this, it says, they went out to take custody of Him.
They were going to take Him, forcibly if necessary, and lock Him away for a while until He came back to His senses. Not unlike families today, who kidnap their relatives from the clutches of cults and imprison them until they can be convinced of the cult’s dangers, and rehabilitated back into normal society.
They were His family. They loved Him. They wished Him well, and thought they knew what was best for Him.
When someone is doing the work of the ministry, hindrances can come from both friends and foes. The ones we must be most on our guard against, are the hindrances that offer comfort. The ones that come from a smiling, well-meaning face.
Sincere love does not necessarily go hand in hand with wisdom and understanding. Only the disciple can accurately, through prayer and attention to the Holy Spirit, determine God’s path for himself; and that path, once determined, must be taken whatever others think or say.
Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”
Jesus knew His path. The plans had been laid and the fullness of time had come, and nothing could now deter Him from the work given Him to do.
Like the prophets He had sent before Him, they called Him ‘mad’. His friends thought He was over-worked and misguided; His enemies called Him the devil. But He followed the course the Father had set for Him, and He now calls all who call themselves His, to do the same.
That brings me closer to the point of my sermon today. As I look around me today, I become increasingly concerned with how many in the church claim to be Christ’s disciples but do not seem to be actively seeking His will and pursuing the doing of it.
Luke records this event in the early life of Jesus, and the wording changes slightly. Maybe because Peter, who had been there and heard the words himself, was dictating directly to Mark, while Luke was depending on other-witness testimony. We don’t know. But there is no conflict; in Mark 3 Jesus says, “...whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother” but in Luke His words are recorded as, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it”.
I say there is no conflict, because to hear the word of God is to know the will of God; and the key phrase in both gospels, is ‘and do it’.
So today let’s talk about THE WILL OF GOD, DOING THE WILL OF GOD, and JUDGING FOR OURSELVES WHETHER WE ARE IN THE FAMILY.
Since I became a Christian and first asked the question myself, I believe the question I have heard asked the most (pertaining to the Christian life) is, ‘how can I know God’s will for my life?’
I think that probably in most cases, what is meant by that question really is, “What does God want me to do; and how can I know from day to day if I am in the right place at the right time? How can I know from moment to moment whether I am doing the thing God wants me to be doing?”
And teachers of the word are so intimidated by the question, wanting always to be helpful and have an answer, they often only add to the problem by coming up with answers that confuse even more. The reason they confuse more, is because the teacher himself really doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so he rambles until the poor new believer is ready to throw up his hands and go to Disneyland instead!
“Well,” says the nervous teacher; attempting valiantly to look confident and assured, “...there is the perfect will of God, and there is the permissive will of God. Now, lots of times, especially with a new Christian, who doesn’t know much of the Bible yet, God will allow that person to go on in His permissive will, until he becomes more spiritually mature and learns to walk in God’s perfect will.