Mark chapter 3, looks at how people see Jesus who is operating in the spiritual authority that God has given him. Two significant institutions do not like him asserting this - his family who say he is crazy, and the religious leaders who think he's evil.
Both are using labels to dismiss him and neutralise his impact.
We do this a lot with people we don’t understand or people who say ideas we don’t like. You might have used these yourself: lefty, nut-job, ivory tower, entitled, bogan, conspiracy theorist, dreamer, bleeding hearts. There are also labels around race, age, gender and ability, that are used.
To his family, Jesus is discredited as incapable. His ideas and actions aren’t reasonable. They think he’s mentally ill.
To the synagogue, Jesus is dangerous, literally demonised. They think he’s evil.
Beware when God comes to you and you dismiss the Spirit too quickly. Resist labels and listen to people’s hearts.
In this passage, Jesus is clear that there is a spiritual dynamic happening. We are not good at identifying spiritual stuff – we like to rationalise. Jesus was both human and divine – the material and the spiritual are connected, integrated and both are paid attention.
The religious people were looking to the old patterns to solve problems. “Satan driving out Satan” showed that they couldn’t think of any other power than the one they knew. They were assuming that the origin of a problem would be used to fix it. We do this, too:
· “God I want this to change, but I want to handle it myself in ways I know.”
· “God I want this to change, but I don’t want to change myself.”
· “God I want this to change, but I don’t trust your solution.”
· “God I want this to change, but without having to acknowledge that you know best or have power.”
· “God I want this to change, but I don’t want to lose any control or power of my own.”
Jesus came to do something completely new – this would mean that those in authority would have to lose their authority. They would have to stop doing what they always assumed was right, and what always propped them up as being important.
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