Handling Opposition to the Faith

“Then he (Jesus) went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:20-21)

Margret was a longtime member of our church. Her husband George was not a member, worshipping with his wife a couple of services a year. As part of visitation, I once asked Margret about stopping by to see her husband. She said I could try, but I needed to brace myself for the visit. It seemed George was unsure who was crazier, this Jesus of the Bible or His followers today. Despite this, Margret said her husband had always respected that church was important to her.

The visit went as predicted by Margret.

Jesus had family members who thought He was crazy. This made quite an inauspicious start to ministry for the Messiah. Family members were so convinced Jesus had lost his mind that they tried to drag him from his mission field. 

Jesus’ immediate response to this interference is informative. Jesus quickly made it clear He placed the will of the Heavenly Father over the desires of His family (Mark 3:31-35). Jesus also never hesitated in His ministry of healing, proclaiming and teaching.

These choices bore fruit. We don’t know which family members thought Jesus was crazy. We do know that, after His ascension, Jesus’ mother Mary and his brothers were with the disciples (Acts 1:14). The Apostle Paul is more specific, referring to “James, the Lord’s brother” in Galatians 1:19.

A while after our visit, George appeared unannounced in our Adult Confirmation Class. I wasn’t sure whether he came to debate or receive instruction in the faith. Regardless of why he came to class, Margret couldn’t hold back the tears when George went through the Rite of Induction for New Members. 

Although I asked George a couple of times what caused his change of heart, he never shared his motivation. I know George heard Scripture at home and in his infrequent attendance in worship services. Certainly Margret both made Christ the center of her life and honored his husband. I also know Margret never ceased praying for George. Between all this and more, God brought George to faith in Jesus.

I find this combination so hopeful for those of us who have family or friends who are now far from Christ. 

Until next Tuesday, the Lord bless and guide.

(Most of my devotional messages for written for the congregations and church workers of the Ohio District – LCMS. For more information about the Ohio District, click here.)


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