Jesus’ family thought he was losing it. The scribes were convinced he was evil. Neither was right. Jesus understood them far better than they understood him.
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” … 28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
If we are going to faithfully follow Jesus there are two accusations that we have to expect. They were leveled at Christ and we will make easy targets for them too. They are simply:
- You are crazy. If, as Paul says, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (1 Cor 1:18), then we can expect those who believe it to be looked upon as fools.
- You are evil. This is almost the oldest lie in the book, since it echoes the serpent’s slander of God, calling his motives into question in dealing with Adam and Eve. It is an easy switch to move from slander against God to slander against Christ to slander against God’s people. Again, we can expect it.
The beauty of all of this misunderstanding and outright falsehood is that Christ endured it first. In our case some of the misunderstanding is justified, some of the criticism is true and, let’s face it, our motives are rarely altogether pure. Yet even when we really are completely in the right, if we expect to be treated like Jesus, there will be those people who fail to grasp that. Some of them will be important, like the scribes, so their criticism will feel very demeaning. Some of them will be close, like our family, so their misunderstanding will hurt. We can only imagine how Christ felt.