Three different people give you a treasure map; how you respond to those treasure maps will depend on your opinion of those people more than the map. If the first man is a hobo living on the streets begging for his next meal, you will probably think he is out of his mind. If believed the map to be accurate he would have found the treasure himself and rescued himself from his poverty. If the second man were a wealthy investor, you might be questioning his motives. Maybe he is giving you this treasure map to help himself somehow. If the third man were a long time friend who always sought your wellbeing, you would probably call pack your bags and pick ax and begin your journey. You see it is often your view of the messenger that impacts your perception of the message.
In our text today, we have the message of God, the treasure, being inspected by three groups of people and their response is determined by their view of Jesus, the messenger. The problem is that our opinion of the messenger may be wrong.
Our view of Christ determines our response to him.
The Degenerate (vv. 20-21 & 31)
And the passage reveals the ugly truth that sometimes those closest to us are not always on our side. In verses 20-21 we have a window into the family life of Jesus. He returns to his home base of Capernaum and people were pressing him so hard he didn’t have time to eat. Somehow word travels back to his mother and brothers. They have all come to the conclusion that Jesus is out of his mind. In other words, their family member is a degenerate. What an estimation of Jesus from his family members.
This view of Jesus causes them to respond in a way that seems odd. His family goes out to seize him or to take him captive by force. They were going to keep him from the task he set out to do.
Even so, we have some in the “family of God” that hear what Jesus has to say and calls us to do, but we question his sanity. Saying things like, “Surely he wasn’t serious when he called us to deny ourselves.” I can deny most of myself, just not all of it. And when he said should love one another, surely he didn’t mean everyone. He must have been off his rocker. While I know you have probably never said that out loud, our actions reveal this view of Christ, when we don’t take his words seriously.
The Demonic (vv. 22-30)
His family, however, wasn’t the only opposition he faced. In fact, we see the Mark sandwich effect with the two parts to the same episode sandwiching a similar account. In this second account, Jesus is dealing with those who should be his religious family. They have come down from Jerusalem to set Jesus straight and correct all these fans that are following him.
As they arrive, they are spreading two views about Jesus, saying he is possessed by a demon or is, in fact, an agent of Satan. In other words, they are saying there is no way that the message or the messenger come from God. Rather they stand in opposition to the will of God. The significance of such accusations harkens us back to chapter one when we see the Holy Spirit empower Christ to accomplish his ministry.
These events explain Jesus’ intense reply to his adversaries. First, whether it is a kingdom or family if Satan has divided his allegiances he will not stand against himself. Much the same, a house will not stand when mother or father are at odds. Or in the situation when those within a church are at odds with one another. Jesus was appealing their common sense. Secondly, he explains the remarkable truth of what is happening before their eyes. Contrary to their position, Jesus wasn’t under the power and influence of Satan; rather Christ stood in authority over him. Jesus parable about the strong man made clear to the religious leaders that he was not under the influence of another but actually, had bound him and taken everything from him. Here we see a picture of what Jesus will finally due upon his resurrection.
Finally, Jesus gives them a very severe warning. The Scribes’ accusation wasn’t actually against Jesus but the work of Spirit. Though they thought Jesus was the blasphemer, they actually wore those shoes. Are you in danger of declaring the work of God as the work of Satan? I’ve had many come to me over the years and ask if they have committed the unpardonable sin. I’d say if they are asking that question, the answer is probably no.
The Divine (vv. 32-35)
In the final scene of this episode we Mark return to his initial story regarding the family of Jesus. We see how the birth family viewed him as deranged, then he reveals his religious family saw him as demonic, but in this scene, his spiritual family sees him as divine.
Jesus mother and brother send a message through the crowd, and Jesus responds not with disrespect but with a correction. Jesus says, those who do the will of God are his real family. Jesus was not declaring them insignificant, rather was stating the priority of God’s family and God’s will. These individuals didn’t want to quench Jesus ministry or discredit him before others, but saw him as the divine authority and sat under his teaching with the intent of obedience.
Those who wish to be a part of the family of God, don’t have to have all the right answers, but they must earnestly desire to learn the way of Christ with intent to obey.
In each of these situations, we see their view of Christ revealed in their actions and attitudes. You see the way we respond to God as he reveals himself through Christ, says something about our view of Christ. Often I would say it speaks louder than our words about him.