The Identity of Jesus: Lord, Liar, or Lunatic? (Mark Sermon 13)
April 24, 2022 | Andy Davis
The Person of Christ, Deity of Christ
"Who is Jesus?" Pastor Andy Davis preaches on Mark 3:20-35 to answer this question about the identity of Jesus.
- sermon Transcript -
Please pray with me now. Lord, as we come into Your presence now by faith in Christ, I realize that the central great need that we all have is to see Him who is invisible, to see Jesus Christ, the great majestic God and Savior whom we confess. We as a church, individuals in this church, are going through a variety of life circumstances. Some of us are thriving and healthy and prosperous and successful. Some are growing fiercely more than perhaps than they ever have before and are doing well in their souls. Others are facing significant medical trials or financial trials or relational trials within the family. Others are struggling and wrestling with secret sin and feel very guilty this morning, and there are a variety of other conditions. Some feel lonely in life because of their life situation, wondering if anyone cares about them, wondering who will love them. Others feeling overwhelmed by their job, by the pressures of their employment, perhaps even dreading going to work tomorrow. But Lord, whatever our circumstance, there is no greater need that our soul has than to see Christ, the glorious Christ, to have the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ shining in our hearts. It solves everything. That we are reminded that this is the one who died for us, our sin are forgiven. This is the one who has promised heaven to us, saying nothing can snatch us out of His hand. This is the one whose death and resurrection puts in perspective all of the temporary trials that we're facing in life. And so, therefore, I pray that You would, Father, do a miraculous work here in this room today, that by the Spirit everyone here today would have far more exalted thoughts of Christ and a far clearer vision of Christ than they had when they walked in here by the ministry of the Word. That is in itself a miracle of grace, that words on a page that have been around for thousands of years can come alive, that we can come alive to them, and that You can strengthen our souls by this homely act of preaching, of hearing words. That it would be far more than that, that we would have a sense of the anointing work of the Holy Spirit of God in this place, and that work would be to one end, the exaltation of Jesus Christ in our minds and hearts. We pray it in Jesus' name. Amen.
The Most Important Question: Who Is Jesus?
Turn in your Bibles as we continue our study, our walk through the Gospel of Mark. As we look at the text, Mark 3: 20-35, we come to this section of Mark's Gospel to the most important question that we can ever face in life: Who is Jesus Christ? Who is He? Certainly, all of us face many important questions in life. Ultimate questions of being, of purpose, of identity. Who am I? Why am I alive? What is my purpose in life? Where am I going? What do I believe? Lesser questions come along the way also. What should I major in in college? What should my profession be? Who should I marry? Where should I live? What kind of car should I buy? Who should I vote for? Of all the questions you will ever face, there is nothing more important than this one: What do I believe about Jesus Christ? Why is that question more important than any of the others? It's because your eternal destiny hangs on your answer. The right answer to that question results in you spending eternity in heaven with God. The wrong answer to that question results in you spending eternity in hell and torment. For all the other questions I listed which mostly shape your life experience temporarily here in this world, they don't even come close to the significance of that question: Who do I believe Jesus Christ is? This is the ultimate fork in the road for all of us.
“Of all the questions you will ever face, there is nothing more important than this one: What do I believe about Jesus Christ? … The right answer to that question results in you spending eternity in heaven with God.
This question is not overtly posed in this chapter, but it is actually the whole point, not just of this chapter, but of the entire gospel of Mark, and indeed of all the gospels. Later, we will come directly to this question in Mark 8:29, when Jesus said, "'Who do you say I am?' and Peter answered, 'You are the Christ.'" All four Gospels are written to bring you to the right answer from the heart, to give you sufficient reasons to confess that Jesus is Lord God, the Son in human form, and that His mission from heaven to earth was for your salvation from sin, personally. All four Gospels have that same ultimate purpose, to give you enough information to make the right answer. If you see His miracles properly, if you listen to His teachings properly, if you see all of this evidence, you'll come to the right conclusion: Jesus is God. Now, there are many faulty answers to that question. There were faulty answers then, and there are faulty answers now. In that same chapter, Mark 8, Jesus and His disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea of Philippi. On the way, He asked them, "Who do people say I am?" And they replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, still others, one of the prophets." That list, those are all positive answers, generally positive, but insufficient., they speak well of Jesus but far less than they should have spoken of Him.
In our text today, we're going to see some toxic answers to the question, utterly poisonous, degrading Him to the lowest level, speaking very poorly of Jesus. In our day, if you just went around and talked to your non-Christian friends and coworkers and neighbors and family and ask them what they generally thought about Jesus, you'll find that Jesus has a generally good reputation. People generally think well of Jesus. The most common wrong answer about Jesus is that He was a great man, a great moral teacher. Ligonier did a survey in 2020 on this very issue: who is Jesus Christ? Stunningly, 30% of people who identify themselves as evangelicals agreed with the following statement: Jesus was a great teacher, but He was not God. 30%, it's almost a third of people identifying as evangelicals would say yes to that statement: Jesus was a great moral teacher, but He was not God. This is a great danger for the so-called evangelical church, that people think it is enough to have a generally positive view of Jesus as a kind, loving leader who taught great things and who loved people, but who was not actually God in human form. Actually, I think this is the normative view in America today. More broadly, back in 2002, Gallup did a similar survey, and while 80% answered that they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, it's like, "Well, that sounds good," a closer look of the data showed that only half of those that gave that answer held that Jesus was incarnate God, fully God, fully man. The rest said that Jesus was the Son of God in the sense that He was a man uniquely called by God to reveal God's purpose in the world. In other words, again, that Jesus was a great moral teacher, but not the Son of God.
This brings us into the land of something that many of you will be familiar with C. S. Lewis' trilemma. C. S. Lewis, a great Christian thinker from England, wrote a book on the basics of the Christian faith called Mere Christianity, one of the most popular books in recent Christian history. Since 2001, it has sold 3.5 million copies in English, and has been translated into many other languages. It's been instrumental in the conversion of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. One of the most famous parts of C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity was his trilemma, on the identity of Jesus Christ— Lord, liar, lunatic. Essential to the trilemma is that Jesus claimed to be God, which He did in many ways. You look across the four Gospels, and again and again you see this. For example, in Mark 2, He heals the paralyzed man right from the start of all of His sins, past, present, and future. Rightly, His enemies said, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" The answer is no one, but Jesus took to Himself that authority, and He did the miracle to prove that He had the authority to forgive sins. He called Himself the Lord of the Sabbath. You may have read right through that without realized what an incredible claim that was in that Jewish context; “Lord of the Sabbath, I'm in charge of the Sabbath.”
In other places, He said to His enemies, "Before Abraham was born, I am." You don't have to be any kind of Jewish scholar to know what that claim is. He is speaking the language of the burning bush and also claiming to be timeless and eternal. No doubt that's a claim to deity. He said, "Moses wrote about Me." He defended His working on the Sabbath with these words, "My father is always at His work. To this very day, and I too am working." He said, "I and the Father are one." He said, "Anyone who has seen Me has seen Father," and many other such claims. There's no doubt Jesus claimed to be God, that's foundational to the problem of the trilemma. A man who makes such a claim cannot be merely a good moral teacher. That's just not possible. That's been taken off the table by that claim. Either His claim is true or it's false. Either He was God as He claimed, or He was not. If He was God, we should all bow down and worship Him and trust in Him and follow Him. But if He was not, if the claim was false, either He knew it was false or He didn't. If He knew it was false and made it anyway, then He's a liar, a very bad liar. It's not a minor lie either. He was the deceiver of the people. If He didn't know it was false, if He really thought it was true but it was false, He was insane. Because He's in an intensely monotheistic religion, they would've told Him from the beginning of the claim how faulty and blasphemous it was. Indeed, they did. So He had to be crazy if He actually really thought it was true and it wasn't. That's how the trilemma works.
C.S. Lewis did not invent this trilemma. Actually, Scottish preacher John Duncan first wrote it in 1859. Watchman Nee also repackaged it in 1936. But Lewis' version is most famous because it was in Mere Christianity. Lewis wrote: "I am trying here prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him, about Jesus. 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That's the one thing we must not say. A man who is merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg. Or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool. You can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. Now, it seems to me that He was neither a lunatic, nor a fiend, and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."
We're going to walk through this complex passage which you heard read earlier, Mark 3:20-35. The context here is that we have had a broad survey of Jesus' public ministry in Mark 3:8-12. Jesus was overpoweringly popular because of a river of healing miracles and exorcisms, driving out demons, so that there were thousands of people around Him every day. The issue of the popular opinion of Jesus starts to come to the fore: Who is Jesus? This text addresses that, raises up different opinions about Jesus. In verse 20-21, Jesus' earthly, biological family have deep concerns about Jesus. They think He's out of His mind so they go to take charge of Him. Then in verses 22-30, it describes that teachers of the law from Jerusalem have heard about Jesus, and they come down from Jerusalem to investigate. They don't deny the miracles, but they conclude exactly the opposite from the truth. It is by Satan, by evil power, supernatural power that Jesus is driving out demons. Jesus addresses their accusations and interpretations. Then in verses 31-35, Jesus' family arrives to take charge of Him and Jesus defines His true family: those who do God's will, a larger teaching of the New Testament. We know exactly what that means. To do God's will means to believe properly about Jesus, to believe in Jesus as Lord. Those are His true family. So that's the three parts of this section in Mark.
The issues are many. Issue number one, the main issue which I've been talking about since I began here today is, who is Jesus? The identity of Jesus. What are we to make of this amazing man and His astonishing works? The second issue is Jesus' biological family, what do they believe about Jesus, including His mother and His brothers? The third issue, what is the origin of Jesus' supernatural power? Where does His power come from? The fourth issue in this text is the nature of Satan's kingdom. We get this from Jesus' first answer, “How can Satan drive out Satan?” What is the nature of His dark kingdom? The fifth issue in this text is the nature of Jesus' ministry. What's actually going on as He's doing exorcisms, as He's saving souls? What's actually happening? And that's Jesus' answer number two, He's actually overpowering the strong man, Satan, and plundering his house. We, the redeemed, are rescued from Satan's dark kingdom by an act of spiritual violence. We have been rescued powerfully by a mightier king. That's the nature of Jesus' ministry. The sixth issue is, what about this issue of the unpardonable sin, a sin that can be committed in time which can never be forgiven, not in this age or in the age to come, never be forgiven, the unpardonable sin? The seventh issue is the true family of Jesus, the true nature of Jesus' family. Who is my mother, who are my brothers? What does it mean to be a brother to Jesus and the nature of His family?
That's far too much for one sermon, especially with this long intro I've already given you. It is too much to cover in one sermon, so our focus today is just going to be on this initial topic, the identity of Jesus, pulled by the gravitational pull of C. S. Lewis' famous trilemma, I can see it in the structure of the text. First, His earthly family will reveal their answer to who is Jesus, or at least at that point. They thought He was out of His mind, and so I'm going to cast that section as Jesus as diluted lunatic. Then the scribes from Jerusalem will reveal their answer that Jesus was possessed by a demon or even Satan himself, so He was a demonic liar, a deceiver of the people through demon power. And finally, when Jesus' family arrives to take charge of Him, Jesus will put them in their place. I mean, basically He's rebuking them by not going out to them, continuing with those that are sitting around Him and asking this question, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? “Those who do God's will, who sit at my feet and drink in my teaching and love it and believe in me, the teacher.” The answer for them is that Jesus is divine Lord.
His Earthly Family’s Answer: Deluded Lunatic
Let's walk through that. First, His earthly family's answer that Jesus is a diluted lunatic. Look at verse 20-21. "Then Jesus entered a house, and again, a crowd gathered so that He and His disciples were not even able to eat. When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him because they said, 'He's out of His mind.'" Again, is this issue that we have week after week after week, the overpowering press of the crowd. We've got thousands of people around Jesus at every moment. They are desperate for healing or that a loved one be healed. They're pressing Him so much, and Jesus' compassion is so relentless, they match together, their needs are relentless, His compassion is relentless, so He has staggeringly long days, especially because He prefers to heal one at a time. There's no evidence ever of mass healing, so He's just touching people, talking to people, interacting with people. It's an exhausting day so that He and His disciples are not able to eat, they're not able to rest, that's His lifestyle. In this particular case, He goes into the house to get away, but they won't let Him alone. Would you, if you'd come a long distance with a dying child or you yourself were desperate, you've been paralyzed, you're carried by some friends, or you're blind, whatever your need, you want to be healed. Whatever Jesus' needs are not that important to you. His family hears about this. The text literally in the Greek says “those near Him”, but at the end when He says, "Who is my mother and my brothers?" you know you're talking about His biological family.
Jesus had biological half brothers and sisters. Mary was not a perpetual virgin, but she and Joseph had normal family life together, and they had four sons and an unnamed number of daughters. Mark 6 names Jesus' brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and then says sisters, two, they're not named, but so there's at least six half siblings. I say half because they shared a biological mother, Mary, but Jesus had God as His father, they all had Joseph as their father. In John 7, we learn an important thing about Jesus' brothers. At that point, Jesus says, "I'm not going up to the feast.” His brothers take Him aside and try to give Him ministry advice, saying, "You're doing all these miracles. No one does miracles like this and tries to stay secret. If you're going to do this, show yourself to the world." They want to be His PR agents. Let me tell you something, Jesus doesn't ever need your advice for anything. Who has been the counselor of the Lord? The text then openly says, "For even Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him." They had seen Him grow up. They'd been in the house with Him. He had never sinned, though. His first miracle we're told in John 2 is the changing of water into wine. He didn't know miracles as a child, as an adolescent, as a young man. He didn't do any miracles before His public ministry, but He was still utterly unique for he never sinned. He was completely unique. They did not believe in Him, but after His resurrection, Jesus specifically appeared to His brother James, and James would eventually become a pillar in the church in Jerusalem, and would write the epistle of James that we have in the New Testament. We believe that the epistle of Jude was also written by one of Jesus' half brothers called Judas, also Jude. In Acts 1, they are waiting for the outpouring of the Spirit, which would come on the day of Pentecost. They're there with Mary, they're all waiting.
After the resurrection, that problem is solved, praise God. They do believe in Him, but not at this point. The proof is this text verse 20-21. They hear about what's going on, and instead of praising God and saying, "The kingdom of God is making progress," they go to take charge of Him because they're saying He's out of His mind. That's pretty emotional when you think about that. His family was saying He's crazy, as C. S. Lewis would say it, lunatic.They thought, "We need to save Him from this crowd and this weird lifestyle. We really need to save Him from Himself.” They go to take charge of Him. The Greek word used usually means “concerning arrest”, to arrest a man. You can imagine in our setting now it's something that's called involuntary commitment. You have to have legal grounds for that, to basically imprison someone, the reason being that the person is a danger. The person's a danger to themselves and to the society. They thought He was crazy. You may stop and say, "What about Mary? I mean, what's going on with Mary here?" Most commentators give her a pass. Most commentators say, "She's not included in this, but she's just along for the ride." They actually even give her a ministry of reducing the half brothers in their virulent unbelief at this point. We have no such data. We do know that He, Jesus, mildly rebukes her at the end of this by saying, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?" We should not think it beyond. I know that Mary knew she was a Virgin when Jesus was conceived and born. There's no doubt. She knew what the angel said., she believed it. We know the Magnificat, Luke 1. For even, John the Baptist receded from his pure strong faith in Jesus toward the end of his life. You remember when he is in prison he said, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" That was John the Baptist. “You mean someone else other than the lamb of God, someone else other than the Son of God.” How could that be? But that's what happened, people are weak. Peter was weak, he called down curses on himself if he even knew Jesus. So I don't know what's going on with Mary. I do know she ends up a vigorous, healthy believer in Jesus. But at this point, I don't know what's happening with her.
“Jesus was the most, really the only truly sane man who ever lived. His mind was pure, pure light, pure love for God, pure love for others, pure love for the truth of God. His teachings were stunningly beautiful. They were rational, reasonable, clear, powerful, timeless.”
Was Jesus a lunatic? This is the easiest part of my sermon. No. No, He was not crazy. Jesus was the most, really the only truly sane man who ever lived. His mind was pure, pure light, pure love for God, pure love for others, pure love for the truth of God. His teachings were stunningly beautiful. They were rational, reasonable, clear, powerful, timeless. His demeanor was perfect in every circumstance. He dealt with every person exactly as they needed to be dealt with. He was rational at every moment. All you had to do was listen to Him and you knew, if you didn't have a bias, a twisted, wicked bias, you knew. At one point, some combined the whole demon possession and insanity thing. In John 10:20, "Many of them said, 'He's demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to Him?’” They packaged the whole thing together there, but the evidence completely refuted that. Right there, in the next verse, others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” So no, Jesus was not insane.
The Jerusalem Scribes’ Answer: Demonic Liar
Secondly, the Jerusalem scribes' answer to the question was demonic liar. Look at verse 22, "And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said 'He is possessed by Beelzebub. By the prince of demons He is driving out demons.'" So the scribes, the teachers of the law, have met Him again and again, they been sent on mission from Jerusalem. Jerusalem's the spiritual center of the nation, so undoubtedly the religious leaders in Jerusalem have heard about Jesus' public ministry. How could they not? They send down a delegation to make an official evaluation of Jesus and His ministry. Interestingly, Jesus' enemies never denied His miracles. That would come centuries later, denying that He even did them. They did not deny it. They accept the fact that He's healing people. They accept the fact that He's doing exorcisms. That's a fact, no one else in history had ever done these things. But they had decided already first that Jesus was their enemy and they were His. They hated Him first, then they explained His miracle, second. Why did they hate Him? Jesus said they hated Him because He testified that what they did was evil. “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, you'll by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” He crossed swords with them when He cleansed the temple in John 2 at the beginning of His ministry, and then again on the Sabbath. Sabbath after Sabbath, He's crossing swords with them, so they hated Him, the opposed him. In John 9 He heals a man born blind and his parents didn’t want anything to do with this court trial on the healing of the blind man, and the parents say, "Ask Him yourself, he's of age." It says there, "For already the Jewish authorities had decided that if any Jewish person said that Jesus was the Messiah, they'd be put out of the synagogue." That's Jewish excommunication. They're out of Jewish life. That's huge, they couldn't buy or sell, they couldn't live in that community if you said Jesus was the Christ. So what explanation then can they give for these miracles? It's so tragic that they can't see the most obvious explanation, that the man born blind in John 9 did see. How can you not see, if this man were not from God, He could do nothing? It's got to be God's power at work.
But they couldn't see it. Instead, they ascribe His supernatural power to the king of demons, Beelzebub. Verse 22, "He is possessed by Beelzebub. By the prince of demons, He is driving out demons." Beelzebub is the Jewish insult of the Canaanite word, Beelzebul, which literally means “Lord of heaven.” The Jews changed it a bit to Beelzebub, which means “lord of the flies”, but it's then what they called Satan, he’s the Lord of the flies. Beelzebub, that's what the word means. So that's Satan.These scribes are saying it is by Satan's power that He's driving out demons. It's a demonic deception, Jesus is a huge fraud. John 7:12, "Some said, 'He's a good man.' Others said, 'No, He deceives the people. He's a deceiver of the people. Liar.'" After His burial, you remember the delegation of Jews went to Pilate and said, "Give orders to make the tomb secure, because we know that while He was still alive, that deceiver said, 'After three days I'll rise again.'" Call Him a deceiver. That's what He is, a liar and a deceiver, demonic liar.
Jesus' answer is that whole thing that you're saying is impossible, it cannot be. Look at verses 23- 26, "So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables. 'How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand. His end has come.'" I want to tell you right upfront, some of Jesus' teachings are easier than others to interpret. This is not easy to interpret actually. It's a hard argument, a complex argument, difficult to follow. First of all, Jesus did openly teach that Satan's a liar and a deceiver, that Satan would do this kind of misdirection is actually well within his character. Furthermore, He warned that at the end of the world false Christs and false prophets would come and perform false miracles to deceive even the elected if it were possible. So false miracles are coming at the end of the world. Paul taught the same thing in 2 Thessalonians 2 that the antichrist, the man of sin, would perform deceptive miracles by the power of Satan. So that Satan actually could do this kind of thing is not beyond his tendency. Then how does Jesus' argument prove that it's impossible that His ministry is being done by Satan? I think the only way I could make sense of it is the level of destruction Jesus was doing to Satan's ministry and kingdom in Palestine. He's blowing up demonic strongholds everywhere, every day. He's driving out demons every day. He's rescuing people from darkness and bringing them into light every day. 1 John 3:8, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work." The level of destruction is incalculable. It's been going on for 2,000 years, praise God. Jesus is leaving Satan's kingdom in smoking rubble day after day. There's no way that Satan could do this level of destruction to his own kingdom and still stand. That's the logic that Jesus is using here.
Let me give an illustration. Imagine during World War II a specific German general rebelled against the Nazi regime and led a coup and destroyed a whole SS division, slaughtered them all, thousands of fanatical Nazi soldiers, blows up Hitler's Berlin headquarters, rounds up and disarms an entire German army, forces them to surrender to the allies, and then he wants to work with the allies to bring the rest of the still-fighting Germans to be subdued. Would you believe that guy is on the level? I mean, after that, yes. The level of destruction that he's done to the former regime is believable. There's no way this is just a trick, because Jesus is just laying waste to Satan's kingdom. We're going to see that as we go on. The demon act of the gatherings, that's not a satanic trick. Verse 26, "If Satan opposed himself and is divided, he cannot stand. His end has come.”
What is the right explanation? Verse 27, "In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.” So every sinner saved, redeemed by Jesus Christ is a work of spiritual violence done to Satan's kingdom. We are all plunder, brothers and sisters, we're plundered by the stronger one who overpowered Satan and rescued us. We were locked up in a satanic prison, we were wrapped up in invisible chains of deception and sin, and we could not set ourselves free. Jesus, the king of light came in and our chains fell off and the prison doors swung open and there was nothing Satan could do to stop it. That's what's going on here. As Luke puts it in Luke 11:21-22, "When a strong man fully armed guards his own outs, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger comes along and attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils." Satan is the strong man, Jesus is the one stronger than the strong man, who strips the strong man of his armor and plunders his house. That's what's going on. If you're a Christian, just praise Jesus for rescuing you. As Colossians 1 said, speaking of God the Father but through Christ, "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves." He did that through Jesus. Praise God. So that's what's happening with these exorcisms, these poor victims are being set free. As we'll see in Mark 5 with the demonic of the gatherings, he becomes a believer in Jesus and spreads the gospel everywhere in the Decapolis. It's a work of liberation, praise God.
Now we come to the unpardonable sin. Look at verses 28 through 30, "I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. He is guilty of an eternal sin." He said this because they were saying He has an evil spirit. Jesus makes it plain in Matthew's account, you can't just say these kinds of things. It's not a freebie to just run your mouth and say it's of because Beelzebub that He's doing this. No, no, you're going to be held accountable. You're in danger year of committing a sin that will never be forgiven, not in this age or in the age to come. This is such a weighty topic that we're going to dig deeper into next time, so I'm just going to set it aside. We'll walk through it next time, the unpardonable sin.
His True Family’s Answer: Divine Lord
Thirdly, His true family's answer, divine Lord. So Jesus's biological family arrive, verse 31-32. Jesus' mother and brothers arrive, standing outside, they sent someone in to call Him. The crowd was sitting around Him and they told Him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You.'" So mother and brothers are there. They're outside because of the huge crowd. “Send in a messenger to summon Him.” Inside the house, you got a huge crowd of disciples. They're sitting around Him drinking in His teachings. They're not there for healing. They're there to listen to His teachings. We're going to learn in the next chapter that Jesus would tell parables out with the outsiders and then go to the insiders and give them the true explanations of those parables. They're just drinking in the teaching of the kingdom of God. They're true followers of Christ. Jesus knew what was in their hearts. He knew that they loved Him and that they believed in Him and that they were His family.
The messengers come in and say, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You.” In other words, “Stop what you're doing and come outside.” Remember, they're there to take charge of Jesus. You're not taking charge of Jesus, so Jesus effectively rebukes them. Look at verse 33-35, "'Who are my mother and my brothers?' He asked. Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God's will is My brother and sister and mother.'" Jesus is not being unkind to them, He's not being disrespectful. We already know from the changing the water into wine, He's not doing whatever His mother tells Him to do. He's going to do what His Father tells Him to do. He's not being unkind to them, but He does want to put them in their place, and He wants them to be genuine believers in Him. They are dishonoring Him, let's not minimize that. They think He's out of His mind. Something's messed up there, they need to change in their thinking about Jesus. The fact is exactly the opposite. If they're, to some degree, especially the brothers, if they're unbelievers, who's out of their minds? They are, not Him.
Here we have the definition of the true family of God, the true family of Christ. "Whoever does God's will is My brother and sister and mother." What is God's will? John 6 probably says it most clearly of all. "They came to Jesus and said, 'What must we do to work the works of God?' Jesus answered, "This is the work of God, to believe in the one He has sent.'" That's it. That's what God's will is in this case, "Believe in Me as Your Lord and savior." This is a challenge to His biological family. He's challenging them to come out of the fog of partial unbelief into a full, clear light of understanding His deity and His role as their savior. They will come out, praise God. In a couple of chapters later, He's going to come to His hometown and He's going to see overtly the unbelief of His relatives. In Mark 6 He says, "Only in his hometown among his relatives in his own house is a prophet without honor." He could not do any miracles there except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them, and He was amazed at their unbelief. It's time for them to repent of that and to see Him for who He really is. He is their Lord, He is their God, He is their redeemer, He's their creator, their redeemer, their savior. They'll see that only by faith.
What is your answer?
As we finish now, what is your answer? Isn't that the most important question? We circle back to that now. What is your answer? Who do you say Jesus is? I mean, if you get nothing else out of this sermon, know this, you cannot say, “He's a good moral teacher, but not God.” That's just not possible. The question I'm asking is, do you really believe that He is God? Do you really believe the reason He came to earth and took on a human body is to save you personally from your sin and that His bloodshed on the cross is sufficient to do that, and that you're trusting in that and in His resurrection? Are you trusting in Him to be the savior of your soul? Your eternity hangs on it.
Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank You for the time we've had to walk through this deep, complex passage with so many different themes. Now we thank You, O Lord, for what we can glean from it, but we know the most important thing always in all of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, is that we would have evidence sufficient to feed and to strengthen and to buttress our faith that Jesus is, as Thomas said, “my Lord and my God,” that we would come to that saving confession and know that through that our sins are forgiven. We praise You Lord Jesus for that. We praise You Father for sending Your Holy Spirit to us individually to bring us from darkness to light through faith in Christ. It's in Your name Lord Jesus we pray. Amen.