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What Others Think of Jesus… What Jesus Thinks of Them!

Mark 3:6-35

Proposition: In Jesus opinion people who are capable of all sorts of evil are still able to be forgiven if they soften their heart and turn to God.

Introduction:  What do people think of Jesus? It’s interesting to see that the various ‘man on the street’ interviews that  ask this question generally produce very positive responses. In the majority of cases people believe that Jesus was a good person, they recognize the tremendous influence He has. They wonder about the claims to deity but are convinced concerning the moral goodness and virtue of Jesus. In other words people are drawn to the person of Jesus. Now if you were to then ask those very same people what they thought about Christians, the overwhelming response is very negative, they distrust and are offended by the claims of the church, they see the church as outdated and repressive. The teaching of the church on sexuality, right to life, creation, sin, heaven, hell, Satan, repentance and forgiveness and eternal life are regarded as either mythological or manipulative. Why is there such a dramatic shift in popular opinion from the person of Jesus to a deep distrust in the people of Jesus? Is it us, is it that we are just not good enough and need to try harder? Though we do need to be on guard against moral laxity and spiritual dullness in ourselves, it would not matter if Canada was full of a Francis Schaffer people type, there would still be an animosity against the church if that church stood for the truth. As we look at the record of Scripture I think we find the same initial pattern:  popularity with what Jesus does for people verses an unwillingness to hear the truth of what He teaches. Have a look at Mark 3:6-35.

I. To a Great Degree, People Think of Jesus In Terms of What They Need.     There are at least seven different groups of people referred to in this passage and each has a perception of Jesus that is based on their most pressing need. Let’s take a look at them:

1. Pharisees and Herodians – These two are classed as one because of their common need, but usually they were far from each other in terms of ideals. The Pharisees were all about religious moral code and the pursuit of power. The Herodians were supporters of King Herod and were politically motivated for personal gain. The need  of power makes coalitions out of the most unlikely of groups as they plot the destruction of truth.

2. The Great Multitude- the geographical description of these people infers that the word of what Jesus was doing had spread throughout the region, and this after only beginning His ministry for several months. They came from the coast lands, the deep south, the eastern regions across the Jordan, from the epicenter of Jerusalem to northern ports of Tyre and Sidon. The common need is for physical relief, some more locally came out of curiosity, but the distant travelers came for the need of healing. Some commentators say that the presence of God in the person of Jesus on the face of the earth prompted a great resistance by Satan such that there were numerous occurrences of demonic possession in the immediate days of Jesus in Galilee. It’s why there are so many references to demons being cast out and so many times that Jesus silences them as they seek to disrupt His plan. At the cross the authority of Satan and the works of Satan were destroyed. The cry, ‘It is finished’, had this in mind as well as the plan of redemption. Demonic oppression and to a lesser degree, demonic possession, still occur but at a much lower rate than in the times of Jesus. The need of the people is for relief, their willingness to hear truth was secondary and considerably impaired.

3. The Disciples- Jesus leaves the sea shore and goes up the hill behind Capernaum, the place where the Sermon on the Mount was given. It is here that He chooses 12 disciples, He establishes His kingdom on the leadership of a new group of 12. They were men of contrasting backgrounds, tax collectors that worked for Rome and Zealots who fought against Rome, people of optimism and people who were pessimistic, steady types and fickle types, workers and thinkers. Jesus chooses this 12 and gives them the power heal, cast out demons and to preach. The need of this group is to satisfy a yearning in their hearts that had been awakened by Jesus. They knew for the first time in their lives that there was something more to life than fishing, office work or political cause. The longer and closer that they stayed with Jesus the more this awakened that need, the presence of holiness, love, wisdom and faith in Christ drew them towards Him. They had begun to need Jesus in the most temporal of ways.

4. His own people – likely a reference to the leaders of Nazareth who were coming to take custody of Jesus claiming He was insane. At the Truth Project on Tuesday we looked at the definition of insanity as people who are incapable of knowing what is real. What was it that Jesus was saying that particularly went against their perception of reality and in the end who was it that was actually incapable of knowing reality? When Jesus forgave sins He did it as the One who is God, for sin ultimately is an act that trespasses against God. The need of this group as they sought to silence this Jesus of Nazareth was to maintain public credibility, to be thought well of. They needed to muzzle Jesus, to make His words less incredible. Jesus was ruining their reputation and that was more important than reality.

5. The Scribes – this group had slander as their main motive and used an amalgam of logic and theology to try to discredit Jesus. They said that Jesus was able to cast out demons because He was possessed by Satan himself and thus Satan was luring people to Jesus by removing the presence of demons from people. This is the only group that Jesus calls closer in order to challenge their thinking. Jesus uses the macrocosm of a kingdom divided against itself failing and the microcosm of house divided against Satan and who operates in both models cannot be divided against himself or he will destroy his own purposes. Instead, what you see being destroyed in terms of demons cast out is happening because Satan has been overruled by Jesus and his house is being destroyed. But then comes the great lesson, the lesson of attributing to Satan what the Holy Spirit is doing. If a person continues to be so resistant to the truth that Holy Spirit brings to our conscience, to our awareness because of what we actually see around us, if we attribute that work to a wicked spiritual power then the hardening of the heart towards God will render a person incapable of hearing the call of God and they will perish in their sin… the unforgivable sin of turning from God despite constant appeal from God. The scribes need to be seen as discerning leaders, a position of pride, was about to cause the unforgiveable sin.

6. The mother of Jesus and His brothers- Mary had received a lot of insight and revelation from God as to Who Jesus is and yet on a number of times she interferes with His work. At the wedding in Cana and here in Capernaum she seeks to direct Jesus and in both cases is rebuked by Him. The rebuke here comes as Jesus does not stop what He is doing but rather describes all people who do the will of God as His mother, sister and brother. The need of Mary was to keep Jesus safe, a little healing was okay, a little preaching was okay, but this was getting out of control. Her understanding of Jesus was too small and what He did was beyond what she expected. 

II. Jesus Thinks of People in Terms of the Life That He Knows Is                                

Jesus knows the reality of what is and what is to be. He has seen it, He knows how it exists and He knows the way to it. He knows the fog of religion that has swirled about these people, an endless list of do’s and don’ts. The 7th group of

people described here are those people who have come into kinship with Jesus, His description of a new family, points to that kinship.


He says whoever does the will of God is part of that family. So what does it mean to do the will of God? Is His will known to us, is it within our capability to accomplish it, is there consequence if we don’t? The gospel is the good news that God has loved us with an everlasting love, it tells the story of how sin creates a bigger and bigger barrier between God and us and it proclaims that God has now chosen in perfect justice to have Jesus pay completely the price of our sin, once for all that if you will receive it…it is the free gift of God to you. The people who respond to this grace are those who do the will of God, they are the new family that God is building in Christ Jesus. Their need is Jesus, in every way, they need Jesus. Does this describe you? It can if you will not harden your heart, if you will agree with what God is putting right here before you and if you will by grace receive the forgiveness of your sin, turning from the patterns of your sin and call upon the name of Jesus as your Savior.

What does Jesus think of you? He thinks you look a lot like your Father and He loves you dearly. He’s come to take you home. 


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