This week as we examined Mark 3:7-19, we saw Jesus differentiate three groups of people from among the crowd. While they may have all looked them same on the outside, they were very different on the inside.
The first group we saw was the Fans. In verses 7-12 we see a large crowd gather from all the over the surrounding region. Apparently, the word about Jesus had spread. While they may have appeared to be followers of Christ because they went out to the seaside to meet him, the motivation was in the wrong place. First, Mark describes them as coming to Christ because of what he had done.
"When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him."
In other words, they wanted his miracles but not his ministry. The wanted to see the phenomenon not hear his preaching. But if we rewind to Jesus previous encounter with the crowd (see Mark 1:38), we see that his primary purpose was his message, not his miracles.
Not only did they not care about Jesus message, but they also didn't care about Jesus. Notice that they are pressing in on one another to the point that Jesus is concerned that the crowd will crush him. So, he asks the disciples to get a boat ready, in case he needs to retreat to the water for his safety. My mind pictures the worst "Black Friday" experience possible. Crowds pressing through to get the thing they want regardless of how their actions affect anyone else.
These fans still exist in the church today. They are a part of the crowd. However, their primary concern is what Christ and his body (the church) can do for them and their preferences, rather than what they can do in service to Christ and for his people.
The second group is the foes. Yes, within every crowd you have those that outwardly appear to be on the same team, but inwardly have an allegiance to a different king. In verses 13-14, we see the demons declaring Jesus rightful identity. These verses should remind us of James 2:19, "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" These enemies of God's kingdom profess the truth about Christ long before his disciples. However, they allegiance was not to Christ. Their loyalty lied with a different king, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).
The attitude of these demons often sits in the pews today, in those who profess Christ with their lips but have hearts that sold out to their personal kingdom.
The final group of individuals is separate from all the others. We see they are separate because Jesus Christ calls them out based on his divine plan. These people were not called because of something they possessed or accomplished but because of Jesus grace. As such, he appointed them for a particular task: remaining with and going out. While those may seem contrary, Christ intended them to be simultaneous. Christ's desire for his followers was to maintain a relationship with him and to go out and invite others into that same kind of relationship.
This appointment separates followers from fans and foes because their motivation had nothing to do with themselves and everything to do with God. A follower of Christ denies their desires for the sake of seeking Christ and his kingdom, through the relationship and ministry.
This task becomes even more difficult because he didn't appoint them to this task individually but as a group. Christ calls and appoints us to serve him within the larger community, not as a lone ranger. We see the difficulty displayed in the kinds of people Christ calls. He didn't summon a group of individuals that all looked alike, shared the same hobbies, and had the same background. Rather he assembled a group of men that came from all walks of life, social status, political status, and spiritual status.
While it may be fine to be unable to discern the make and model of cars, I beg of you to discern the state of your heart. Are you a fan, foe, or follower of Jesus Christ?