Summary: Sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, Year B.
What Is Wrong With Him? / Mark 3: 20 - 35
Intro: The musical South Pacific was based on the 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Tales of the South Pacific” by James Michener. The music was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. In 1949 the musical opened on Broadway winning 10 Tony awards including all 4 awards for the acting. It was made into a movie in 1958. There are many memorable songs in that movie. One song nearly derailed the production. Here are the words: You've got to be taught to hate and fear. You've got to be taught from year to year. It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You've got to be carefully taught. You've got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made and people whose skin is a different shade. You've got to be carefully taught. You've got to be taught before it's too late, before you are six or seven or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate. You've got to be carefully taught!
I. What does this song have to do with the scripture passage, you might ask? Perhaps it will become clearer to you when I have finished.
A. VS. 21 – “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The family of Jesus thought he was out of his mind because of what he the things he was doing.
B. When I told my mother I had decided to go to seminary, her response was, “The church has got to be really desperate.” --- Most people have the impression of pastors. You have to be a little crazy to want to do this job because people do treat you differently: they watch what they say, some squirm in your presence, some keep you at arms length and other hold you to a higher standard.
C. The family of Jesus came to “Take charge of him,” Κρατησαι Kratesai to detain, retain, hold fast or to lay hold of. The came to get him because they though he was crazy. He was “out of his mind.” Literally “He has stood outside.” In the deep south they might say, “He’s been out in the sun too long!”
II. VS. 22 – The teachers of the law . . . said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
A. Beelzebub = Lord of the flies / Satan = prince of the demons. Not a character with horns and a tail dressed all in red. It is more subtle.
B. δαιμόνιον daimonion = those who rule and direct human affairs. Whatever it is the controls who you are and what you do. Those are your daimonion (demons). You see, Satan likes to control or dominate our lives. He knows everything about you: your deepest, darkest secrets, your deepest fear, sins and everything with which you struggle.
C. The reality of Beelzebub and Satan become clear when we name the forces and configurations that capture us and cause us to hurt ourselves, others and God: Things like discrimination, materialism, militarism, power and all the “isms” that we are “carefully taught” by our family, relatives, and society.
III. When Jesus is informed that his mother and brothers have arrived, he asks: “Who are my mother and my brothers?
A. Jesus is not anti-family. He does not call us to forsake our families. He does, however, call us to discipleship that is costly.
B. VS. 35 “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus calls us to partake of a new family defined by faith and united in our quest to serve God.
C. When I was in PA cleaning out my mother’s house, my cousin said to me, “I don’t understand how you can just turn your back on your family and your home to go and live so far away.” Your natural family may not understand you; but, in Christ, you have a new family, though not always perfect like any family, but one where you belong and are love because you are IN CHRIST.
Conclu: Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian patriot, soldier, and hero-figure. He devoted his life to the cause of uniting Italy which he succeeded in doing by 1860. Amazingly, he did it with an army of 1070 men. He said to them, “I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart and not with his lips only, follow me!” In the same way, Jesus says, “I offer neither riches nor wealth. Let those who love me come and follow me and live amongst those who love me too! Let the world call us crazy; but, let us love one another and yes, even the world.