November 1, 2010 David Balzer

Mark 3:7-35: The Family Business

My Grandad was a Chemist. He ran the Chemist shop in Cairns. And my DAD trained to follow in his footsteps. Became a Chemist too. So he could take over the family business.

 

Lots of people do that, don’t they? In fact, in the OLD days, it was pretty normal. That’s where surnames came from. John Taylor was a tailor – like his dad. Bill Smith was a blacksmith. And so on. Balzer is apparently German for bird catcher.

 

The funny thing is, Dad left being a pharmacist to go into Ministry. And I guess I’m following in HIS FOOTSTEPS, too!

 

Sometimes GOING INTO THE FAMILY BUSINESS carries HUGE BENEFITS. Like Jamie Packer. Or Lachlan Murdoch. Imagine your Dad being Kerry Packer. Or Rupert. Billions of dollars – and you just walk into it right at the top. Because you’re part of the family.

 

I heard a story about Kerry Packer. He’s in the high-roller’s section of a Casino in America. And the guy next to him brags that he’s worth 10 million dollars. Kerry leans over, and quietly says to him, “I’ll flip you for it”! That sort of money is loose change to him! Imagine going into a family business like that!

 

Well, there’s a better family business to be involved in, isn’t there? And WE CAN BE PART OF IT. A better inheritance. That we’re invited to share in. And you’ll see it if you look at verse 33.

 

Jesus’ mum and his brothers have come to take him home. Because they think he’s had a bit too much sun. They’ve heard the things he’s saying and doing, and they think he’s crazy. But when Jesus is told his mother and his brothers have come for him, he does some REDEFINING. Who it is who’s REALLY part of his family. His REAL brothers. His REAL MOTHER.

 

Read what he says. Verse 33. “Who are my mother and my brothers? And he looks at the people in the circle around him – the ones hanging off his every word – and he says, “HERE are my mother and my brothers. WHOEVER DOES GOD’S WILL is my brother, and my sister, and my mother.”

 

And it’s people like this who Jesus is calling to be part of the family business. And he’s calling YOU to be part of it too. Are YOU willing to sit at Jesus’ feet? To do God’s will? ‘Cause if you are, then you can be part of Jesus’ family business too.

 

2. The God Squad: (13-19)

Let’s look at how Jesus goes about his work. He’s getting people to join the family. Verse 13. Out of all the crowds that are milling around him, Jesus calls together a bunch of twelve… twelve to be at the heart of what he’s doing. They’re the God Squad. He goes up the mountainside and calls the ones he wants.

 

And he gives them a name. APOSTLES. They’re more than just DISCIPLES – followers. He’s got HUNDREDS of THOSE. These are APOSTLES – representatives or agents. He’s going to send them out to PREACH THE GOOD NEWS. To do what he’s been doing. With HIS AUTHORITY. To take on the opposition. Drive out demons.

 

They’re the familiar names. Verse 16. Simon. James. John. Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew. All the guys you see listed there through to verse 19. The twelve apostles. The new Israel. The ones for the family business. The original God Squad.

 

And along with them – anyone else who wants to REALLY DO GOD’S WILL, the NEW FAMILY OF JESUS. Who’ll sit at his feet and hang off his every word.

 

It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Because the people you’d EXPECT to be doing that, are the people who AREN’T. The OTHER family!

 

Like his mum and his brothers. Who just don’t seem to understand who he is. Who can’t come to terms with the GREATNESS of the one who’s grown up in the same house. Played cricket in the same backyard.

 

And it’s the same with the PHARISEES and the TEACHERS OF THE LAW. They were meant to be EXPECTING their Messiah. Experts on the Old Testament that promised he was coming.

 

Let’s look at how they get it wrong. His mum and his brothers say he’s MAD. And the Pharisees say he’s BAD.

 

3. He’s mad:

Have a look at verse 20. Jesus comes to a house; and again there’s a crowd; so much happening that he and the disciples can’t even stop for a bite to eat.

 

Like those ads on TV. The single girl living by herself. And Mum’s on the phone. “Are you SURE you’re looking after yourself?” YES Mum!! Eating those McCain HEALTHY CHOICE frozen meals.

 

Well, Jesus is so busy he isn’t eating ANYTHING.

 

And so verse 21, When HIS FAMILY hears about it, they go to take charge of him… because they say, “He’s out of his mind” He’s LOST IT.

 

They think he’s not looking after himself. He just needs a good home-cooked meal. A good lie down.

 

It’s his own family! His NATURAL family don’t understand what the FAMILY BUSINESS is about! They’ve known him all his life, and they STILL don’t get it right!

 

They don’t see a KING who’s come to conquer Satan’s kingdom. They don’t see the MESSIAH come to preach good news. Or GOD’S SON doing God’s work.

 

They see the boy they grew up with. The boy with scars on his knees.

 

He’s just been out in the sun too long. Got a few roos loose in the top paddock. A sandwich short of a picnic.

 

And so they want to take him home.

 

There’s a classic line in the Monty Python movie – Life of Brian. It’s ancient Israel. Brian’s a normal person, but he’s been mistaken for the Messiah. And the crowd is outside his window. Brian’s mum leans out and yells. “He’s not the Messiah – he’s just a very naughty boy!”

 

And this is just what Jesus’ family does. They miss the significance of what he’s doing. And so, verse 32, when they finally get to the door to try to take him home. As the message is passed through the crowd – YOUR MUM AND YOUR BROTHERS ARE HERE, Jesus says the words we saw earlier. A new family. A family of people who DO SEE THE REALITY. Of the SON OF GOD AT WORK.

 

Who’s my TRUE FAMILY? Whoever does GOD’S WILL… is my brother… and my sister… and my mother.

 

4. He’s Bad:

And there’s another group that get Jesus confused. Who misunderstand what he’s on about. And boy do they get it wrong!

 

The Pharisees are convinced he’s bad to the bone. They see the things he’s doing… driving out demons. He’s just been setting people free from evil spirits back in verse 11 and 12. Whenever evil spirits saw him, they’d fall down before him and cry out. He’s controlling the forces of evil!

 

And so the experts put two and two together and come up with … FIVE. Anyone with that sort of power over spirits, they reckoned had to be FROM THE DARK SIDE. Demons BOW DOWN TO YOU, you must be THE PRINCE of demons!

 

And so they accuse him. Verse 22. He’s possessed by BEELZEBUB. By THE PRINCE OF DEMONS he’s driving out demons.

 

It’s not that he’s MAD. It’s that he’s very, very BAD. That’s the verdict of the experts. The teachers of the law who’ve come down from Jerusalem to check him out.

 

But it’s obvious, isn’t it. It’s not the DEVIL’S BUSINESS Jesus is on about. It’s his FATHER’S BUSINESS. He’s not setting people free because he’s from SATAN. He’s setting people free because he’s from GOD. And the demons aren’t BOWING to their MASTER. Their RUNNING AWAY from their ENEMY.

 

Verse 23. How can Satan drive out Satan? Verse 24. A kingdom divided against itself can’t stand. It’s two kingdoms at war! And God’s business is about storming Satan’s castle!

 

Verse 27. He’s the ULTIMATE REMOVALIST. More than that – he’s RAIDING THE STRONGHOLDS OF SATAN… and carrying off his treasures. Setting people free from his power. And he says, no one can enter a strong mans house and carry off his possessions unless he first TIES UP the strong man. THEN he can rob his house. You don’t rob your OWN house, unless you’re into insurance fraud.

 

And robbing SATAN’S house is what Jesus has just been DOING. Verses 7-10. Healing, preaching and getting rid of demons. Raiding Satan’s pantry! Masterminding a breakout from Satan’s jail! If they’d been paying attention they’d have REALISED what he was doing!

 

The funny thing is/ THE EVIL SPIRITS recognised what Jesus was doing. It’s a bit hard not to notice when you’re being invaded! Verse 11. Whenever the evil spirits see him, THEY FALL DOWN BEFORE HIM, and cry out, “YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD”.

 

The ones who SHOULD have worked Jesus out DIDN’T. (The Pharisees and his family) And the ones who Jesus was smacking about DEFINITELY knew who they were up against!

 

4. He’s God

You know, you can’t just IGNORE JESUS. You’ve got to make up your mind who he really is -he’s not just HARMLESS. That’s not an option. The only three choices are here.

 

He’s either MAD. Deluded. THOUGHT he was something he WASN’T. That’s what his FAMILY reckoned. That’s one option.

 

Or else he’s BAD. Evil. Satan’s offsider. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Which was what the PHARISEES thought he was. That’s the second option.

 

Or else he’s GOD. That’s the third option. The evil spirits could see it! They knew who was kicking sand in their face. The people sitting around Jesus knew it. They were lapping up every word from his lips.

 

That’s your choice. Mad… Bad… or God.

 

 

There’s another group of people in this passage, isn’t there? The crowds. We don’t hear much about them today. But they’re always there. Always hanging around Jesus. And they had the same choice to make. The choice YOU’VE got to make. Mad, bad, or God?

 

Some of them were just hanging around for a free feed. Some wanted to be healed. Some just followed for the free entertainment.

 

But SOME were there for the RIGHT reasons. Some of them saw something special in Jesus. More than just a meal ticket, or a freak show, or a quick fix. Something worth listening CLOSELY for. Looking CAREFULLY at.

 

Something worth pushing through the crowd. Cramming into a tiny one-room house. Squashing up on the floor, with your knees up around your chin.

 

They did all of THAT so they could sit at Jesus’ feet. And listen to him.

 

Why? To find out what God wanted them to do. To find out how to follow Jesus. How to do MORE than talk the talk. That’s what the Pharisees were good at. They needed to learn to walk the walk.

 

And what’s Jesus’ verdict? HERE are my mother and brothers. Here’s my true family. Is that where you are?

 

It’s like the crowds around us right now. All around there’s thousands of people who’ve got an opinion about Jesus.

 

Washing their cars, reading the papers. Mowing the lawn. Watching tele.

 

And most of them have got the WRONG idea. Probably because no one’s ever told them what Jesus is really like. No one’s ever shown them what the bible says about him.

 

And so they’ve got the wrong idea. They ignore him because they think Christianity is about stained glass windows and three piece suits. And where is THAT opinion going to lead them? To an eternity without God.

 

Because Jesus is nothing like they think, is he? He’s no wimp in a long dress. He was tough as nuts on those who deserved it. He was as courageous as a warrior facing the enemies who hated him with a passion.

 

But he was compassionate and gentle as a dove to the weak and children and outcasts. He had a sharp wit, hands as tough as leather, shoulders as wide as the mountains, and the patience of a saint.

 

THIS was the Jesus some of the crowd followed EVERYWHERE. Who sat at his feet. And listened to every word. Because more than anything else, they recognised that he had the INSIDE LINE ON GOD. He knew what PLEASED God.

 

The people who sat around Jesus. Who were his true family. Knew that he had the answer to HOW TO DO GOD’S WILL.

 

Friends, in the end we all have to choose sides. When it comes to Jesus you can’t just SIT ON THE FENCE. There’s a choice to be made. But there’s also a warning. So be warned.

 

The RELIGION EXPERTS choose exactly the WRONG SIDE of the fence to come down on. (He’s EVIL. He’s BAD. He’s possessed by the DEVIL).

 

What a BLASPHEMY. And that’s what Jesus says to them. Verse 28. You can be forgiven for ANYTHING ELSE. But that’s ONE MISTAKE that there’s no coming back from. Get it THAT wrong about Jesus and you’re heading for an ETERNITY WITHOUT HIM.

 

You need to make sure that’s not you. That you know for CERTAIN who he is. He’s NOT mad. He’s NOT bad.

 

He’s GOD. And he’s doing GOD’S BUSINESS. Building God’s family. And if you know THAT, then you’re part of that family. His true family. Who circle around him and listen. Keen to know the will of God. Keen to DO THE WILL OF GOD.

 

The warning’s there because the world’s full of people who think they’re on God’s side. “I’m a good person”. As Crocodile Dundee said, “Me and God are mates!”. But that’s an opinion based on IGNORANCE.

 

Because the only way to tell what God wants is to listen to JESUS. Just like the group sitting at his feet. We need to listen to Jesus, and take what he says seriously.

 

So what sort of things does Jesus call us to do? What sort of things are God’s will? What IS the family business ABOUT?

The FIRST step is to REPENT. That’s what Jesus has been saying from the START. Turn over a new leaf. Stop living for YOURSELF. And start living FOR JESUS.

 

And when we do THAT. We’ll listen to what he SAYS. About what pleases God. Try these on for size.

(Mat 5:21-22 NIV)  “”You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ {22} But I tell you that anyone who is ANGRY with his brother will be subject to judgment.

 

Don’t be ANGRY.

 

(Mat 5:27-28 NIV)  “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ {28} But I tell you that anyone who LOOKS AT A WOMAN LUSTFULLY has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

 

Watch LUST.

 

(Mat 5:38-40 NIV)  “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ {39} But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. {40} And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”

 

(Mat 18:21-22 NIV)  “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” {22} Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

 

Forgive and turn the other cheek.

 

The Sheep and the goats (Mat 25:43-45 NIV)  “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ {44} “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ {45} “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'”

 

Care for those in need.

 

All sorts of things that make a real difference in what your life looks like. But they’re things which START with following Jesus. That’s what REALLY counts with God.

 

If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

 

How serious are we about sitting at Jesus feet? Can other people see the family resemblance? Are we like Jesus?

 

How serious are YOU about being in the family business?

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