These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
David Platt once said, “My prayer is that people will see that following Jesus will cost you everything you are and everything you have. And my prayer is that people will see that Jesus is worth it.” Today, we are going to see three groups of people and their reaction to Jesus.
- One group decided Jesus had lost His mind and was a lunatic.
- The second group decided Jesus was a liar and was deceiving people about who He was.
- The third group decided He was truly the Son of God, the Messiah, and Lord and believed Him.
But the question is, what have you decided? Who is Jesus to you? Let’s think about that today. We are in Mark 3:20.
Lunatic: Jesus has lost His mind
So, the first group decided Jesus was a lunatic and Jesus had lost His mind. It is hard to imagine that anyone could think that Jesus had lost His mind. His reasoning was perfect; His logic the most pure; and His preaching the most profound. No one ever spoke like Jesus spoke – with clarity, depth, and authority. Whenever Jesus taught, the reaction of the people was always the same. Luke tells us, “all the people were hanging on to every word He said” (Luke 19:48, NLT). But in spite of His popular reception by the crowds who flocked to hear Him, certain members of Jesus’ family thought He had gone mad. Let’s take a look at this.
Mark says in verse 20, One time Jesus entered a house, and the crowds began to gather again. This was beginning to be normal (1:32, 37, 45; 2:1-2). Hundreds of people (sometimes thousands) of people would hear about Jesus being in town and they would press upon Him and his disciples – seeking healing, deliverance, or some miracle. Some came to receive and some came to see. His ministry of healing was unlike anything the crowds had ever seen (Matt. 9:33), drawing people in masses from all around to witness His supernatural power and hear His extraordinary teaching (Mark 3:7-12).
The size of the crowds often created unique logistical challenges.
- On more than one occasion, Jesus miraculously created food to satisfy the hunger of thousands who followed Him (Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 8:1-10).
- At other times, as people mobbed Him along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus entered a small boat so that He could escape the crush of the crowd and address them away from the shore (Luke 5:1-3; Mark 3:9).
- Earlier, the crowd overflowed the house where Jesus was teaching, forcing the friends of a paralyzed man to dig a hole in the roof just to get an audience with Christ (Mark 2:4).
- Jesus’ miracles – like the healing of that paralyzed man – only heightened the intensity of the crowds, who openly wondered if Jesus was the Messiah (cf. Matt. 12:22-23).
- On this occasion, the multitude was again pressing into the house to such a degree “he and his disciples couldn’t even find time to eat.” The crowds were so overwhelming that Jesus and His disciples were unable to perform even the basic functions of life, like eating.
This seems to be the last straw. So in verse 21 Mark says, When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. The phrase “take him away” means to seize. It is used 15 times in Mark, eight refer to Jesus being seized, including His arrest. It is also used to describe John the Baptist being seized and arrested and placed in prison (Mark 6:17). Jesus’ family was intent on rescuing Him, by force if necessary, from the oppressive crowds that threatened to smother Him and to rescue Jesus from Himself, as well.
Jesus’ family had decided that “He’s out of his mind.” To them, Jesus describing Himself as God and the Messiah and the Son of God were signs of someone who had lost his senses. To them Jesus was sounding like a lunatic.
We are not given any indication that Mary thought Jesus was “out of his mind.” Before Jesus was born an angel of the Lord said, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:31-33, NLT). She knew exactly who He was even if she didn’t understand the details she was not concerned. Remember, Mary is the one who approached Jesus about turning water into wine at the wedding. She knew who Jesus really was and what He could more than anyone.
However, Jesus’ brothers were concerned. At this point, Jesus’ brothers did not yet believe in Him. John 7:5 makes this clear when John writes, “For even his brothers didn’t believe in him” (NLT). I’m sure Mary and Joseph had told their children about Jesus and that He was special. However, for the first thirty years of His life, while Jesus lived in Nazareth, His siblings observed Him day after day. Everything He did was perfect (Heb. 4:15) – a reality that validated His identity but may have frustrated His younger brothers and sisters (who could never match up to His high moral standard). The Bible implies that He did not begin performing miracles until after His public ministry started (John 2:11). Outside of astonishing the religious scholars in Jerusalem when He was twelve years old (Luke 2:46-47), Jesus appeared like other young men (vv. 51-52).
The names of Jesus’ half brothers are listed in Mark 6:3 (James, Joses, Judas, and Simon). That verse also indicates that He had more than one half sister, meaning that Jesus was one of at least seven children born to Mary. Growing up in the same family as Jesus, His siblings had witnessed His perfect obedience, but because of the seemingly ordinary nature of His childhood, they did not yet believe Him to be the Messiah.
When his brothers and sisters heard about the crowd closing in on Jesus to the point he was not able to eat and combined with the statements of Him declaring Himself equal with God or God Himself that decided it was time to rescue their older brother from Himself.
The phrase “out of his mind” means to lose your senses, to be beside yourself, or to be insane. Members of Jesus’ own family were convinced that He was no longer in control of His rational senses. Though His brothers did not believe in Him yet, their unbelief was only temporary. They would come to embrace Him in faith after His resurrection (Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 15:7). In fact, Jesus’ brother James would become a leader in the Jerusalem church (cf. Acts 15:13-35; Gal. 1:19), and both James and Judas (Jude) would pen epistles in the New Testament. At this time, however, out of concern for Him perhaps mixed with a sense of pity and family duty, they determined to go bring Him safely back home.
When you follow Jesus, you are going to be misunderstood. Depending on what Jesus has you to do, some people may think you are out of your mind. The praying, worshiping, obeying God’s Word, the giving, serving, going on mission trips, becoming a missionary, saying no to sin, loving your enemies, forgiving people, all this can seem crazy to people. When you start talking about Jesus being God, dying on a cross for people’s sins, resurrecting from the grave, coming again for His people, a heaven, hell, angels, the Holy Spirit, and on and on can sound like you are out of your mind to some people.
There will always be people who think Jesus is a lunatic and they may think you are one as well.
Liar: Jesus is not who He claims to be
Some people are going to think Jesus is a lunatic and they may think you are too. Number two, some people are going to think Jesus is a liar and they may think you are too. Look closely at verse 22, But the teachers of religious law who had arrived from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That’s where he gets the power to cast out demons.” 23 Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. 24 “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. 25 Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 26 And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive. 27 Let me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. 28 “I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, 29 but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.” 30 He told them this because they were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.” We are not going to be able to look at all this today. We will return to this section next week and unpack some of the details. But what I want you to notice today is that “the teachers of the religious law” decided to cast doubt on where Jesus’ power was coming from.
The religious leaders could not deny Jesus supernatural and miraculous power, so they devised a smear campaign that would call into question the source of it. At this point the crowds were beginning to seriously consider that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the One the Old Testament was talking about that would come from God. To the religious leaders this was a serious threat to their religious system, core beliefs, and values. To them, Jesus was an enemy that was trying to tear down what God had built. So to them, Jesus was “possessed by Satan.” They thought and believed Jesus was doing something wrong, evil, wicked, and unloving toward God. They were blind to the truth, believed their own lie, and now were passing it on to others.
At some level, when you follow Jesus the same thing will happen to you. You may be accused of not being loving, not being kind, not being Christ like while you are serving others. The Bible says that we are to teach the truth even if its unpopular or not politically correct. The Bible says we are to correct one another, admonish one another, and to expose sin. When you do those things in a loving manner you are going to be seen as cold, uncaring, insensitive, arrogant and not Christ like. They may not say you are “possessed by Satan” but in other ways they are saying that. Just like they call Jesus a liar, they are going to call you a liar of why you are doing what you are doing.
Lord: the acknowledgment of Jesus’ followers
Some people are going to think Jesus is a lunatic and they may think you are too. Some people are going to think Jesus is a liar and they may think you are too. Number three, some people are going to think Jesus is Lord and they are going to be correct. Notice what Mark says in verse 31, Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. 32 There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.” 33 Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 35 Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” First of all, Jesus is not being intentionally disrespectful toward his earthly family. He is using this as another important opportunity to help people understand His kingdom and the type of relationship His people should have with Him.
Those who are truly apart of God’s family are those who truly have a desire to obey Him. Those who truly recognize that Jesus is Lord respond with an eagerness to obey Him. True conversation has always been marked by obedience to the Word of God and submission to the authority of Christ.
In John 8:31 Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (NASB). Later in John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (NASB). Then we hear this echoed in 1 John 2:4, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (NASB). A desire to obey God’s Word and obeying it is the essence of a follower of Jesus and a characteristic of those who are part of the family of God.
The eternal destiny of every person is determined by what that person does with Jesus Christ. Those who ultimately regard Jesus as either a lunatic or liar will spend eternity apart from Him. But those who do the will of God by embracing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are promised eternal life in heaven (Rom. 10:9). There, as members of the family of God, they will enjoy all that God and heaven have to offer.
So what is your judgement of Jesus? What have you decided about Jesus? Is Jesus a lunatic – a man who did great things, taught wonderful things, but was a crazy. Is Jesus a liar – did He lie about who He was and what He was really about? Is Jesus Lord – is Jesus worth following, obeying, and giving everything up for?