Summary: Ministering in a corrupt world brings criticism. Jesus faced criticism from His FRIENDS, FOES and FAMILY. Learn how we should deal with criticism.
Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold (to arrest by force) of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind (He’s crazy)."
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebub," and, "By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons." So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: "How can Satan cast out Satan?" If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. "No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house." Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"--because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You." But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother." Mark 3:20-35
Ministering in the Midst of Criticism
Introduction – Criticism (using 1 or 2 of these)
Two taxidermists stopped in front of a window where an owl was on display. They immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted. Its eyes were not natural; its wings were not in proportion with its head; its feathers were not neatly arranged; and its feet could be improved. Just when they had finished with their criticism, the owl turned his head...and blinked. It’s easier to be critical than correct.
Pepper Rogers, coach of UCLA’s football team suffered through a poor season back in the 1970’s. He came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans. Things got so bad that he felt as if all his friends were gone. “My dog was my only true friend,” he said. “I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends–and she bought me another dog.”
After church one Sunday morning, a mother commented, "Did you hear the choir this morning? They were awful!" The father commented, "And the sermon was too long."
Their 7-year-old daughter added, "Well, you’ve got to admit, it was a pretty good show for a dollar."
Criticism is pretty easy to do when you have nothing invested in it. As preachers, it is often difficult to listen to or read a message or sermon without being critical of how I might say or write it. In the same way, many of our members are critical of those who don’t measure up to their standards. It is easy for armchair Generals to criticize those in the middle of the battle.
Our historical setting is found in Matthew 12 where Jesus has just cast out a demon that had also handicapped a man visually, audibly and verbally. Yes, this man was possessed, deaf, dumb and blind. (I also recognize that the term “dumb” is not a politically correct term today…ok, so he was mute)
Overwhelming crowds were gathering to witness His awesome power and incredible teaching. Jesus attracted the rich and famous, the poor and infamous and the religious and non-religious. People wanted what He was giving. They flocked from all over the country to hear this preacher from Nazareth.
Let’s examine the criticism that Jesus receives from the various people groups He was ministering to.
The first thing we notice in verses 20-21 is that…
He was MISJUDGED by His Friends.
They enjoyed His ministry and miracles. He was ministering to all kinds of people, even to His own harm. In this we see their CONCERN. Jesus was being inundated by people. He had precious little time to eat or rest. In New Testament times, food was a necessity more than a luxury for the common people. Jesus was ministering because He only had about one year left before His crucifixion at this point.
We also recognize their COMPLAINT. In their opinion, He had become a fanatic regarding His ministry. They had begun think that Jesus was going crazy. He was out of His mind and losing it.