Nov. 6,2007; The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher

Focus Text: Mark 3.13-21

I wonder what would have happened in 1948 on the morning after the presidential election if Harry Truman had believed the headlines of the Chicago Daily Tribune, the headlines which boldly proclaimed, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” I wonder what would have happened if George Foreman had believed his critics who said a man over 40 could never compete against the young guns coming up in boxing (Hint: You’d probably be eating greasy hamburgers instead of ones with the fat grilled out!). But, of far more importance, I wonder what would have happened had Jesus taken some of His detractors seriously. This four-installment set of devotionals will examine some “what ifs” where Jesus was concerned.

I wonder what would have happened if Jesus had listened to “His own people” at a particularly important point in time during His earthly ministry. “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons…” (Mark 3.13-15). With this “calling of the twelve,” the work of Jesus began to have more impact on the nation of Israel; rather than one man preaching the good news, now twelve others also proclaimed the message of the soon coming kingdom. “Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’” (Mark 3.20-21). “They said…!” “They said…!” “They said, ‘He is out of His mind.’”

In one of His most picturesque teaching sessions, Jesus said, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.’ (John 10.16-18). These saying hit hard to some Jews, especially those who refused to believe that He was who He claimed to be. “Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, ‘He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?’” (John 10.19-20). “Many of them said…!” “Many of them said…!” “Many of them said, ‘He has a demon and is mad.’”

I wonder what would happen if we, the followers of Jesus, allow the world to decide what makes sense and what is opposed to reason. Paul would not acquiesce to such a compromised position and neither should we. When Festus accused Paul of being mad, he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.” (Acts 26.25).

Jesus was a unique and unequalled Teacher. He refused to allow the world to define words to its own liking. He, “the Divine Logos,” knows better than all creation what it means to speak with sanity and reason. He refused to allow people who were crazed with sin to win the argument that He was crazy! He must be our model in this crazy mixed-up world!

Questions:

1. Immediately after commissioning the twelve, what did people say was wrong with Jesus?

2. Immediately after saying that He was able to lay down His life and take it up again, what did many people say about Jesus?

3. What did Festus say about Paul when he preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?

4. Should we be surprised when the world says that the resurrection makes no sense? What should our reaction be? What happens if we allow the world to decide what is sane and what is insane in the religious arena? What about truth and error? Good and evil?