I have been following Jesus around in the book of Mark this week and I am amazed at how totally fearless He was in the face of all kinds of opposition to not only His message but His calling. He was called to preach the Gospel to the lost house of Israel. He was called to demonstrate the power and love of God to His Countrymen. He was called to die for the sin of man as the spotless Lamb of God.
From the time He descended from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit, it was on as far a He was concerned. Everywhere He went, He helped people. He healed people. He set people free. He still does that today.
It didn’t take long before huge crowds began to gather around Him trying to receive healing and deliverance from evil spirits. At first, He was a novelty to the Pharisees. Someone who was here today and gone tomorrow. However, as time went on they knew who He was, and yet they refused to believe their own hearts’ conviction. His own family, including His mother, thought He was crazy. They even went en masse to forcefully take Him out of Peter’s house.
Mark 3:20-21 says “Then He went to a house [probably Peter’s], but a throng came together again so that Jesus and His disciples could not even take food. And when those who belonged to Him (His kinsmen) heard it, they went out to take Him by force, for they kept saying, He is out of His mind (beside Himself, deranged)!”
Mark 3:22 says “And the scribes who came from Jerusalem said, He is possessed by Beelzebub, and, by [the help of] the prince of demons He is casting out demons.”
Chapter 3 of Mark began with Jesus in the Synagogue…in church. A man with a withered hand was there and the Pharisees were just waiting for Jesus to make a misstep so they could accuse Him and put Him to death. Imagine the level of hatred in their hearts to be so intolerant of someone like that?
Jesus was grieved at the hardness of their hearts, but He healed the man anyway. He was totally fearless in the face of plots of death from the Pharisees. Nobody had ever seen the miracles He performed because, for over four hundred years, Yahweh had been silent in Israel. It amazes me at the level of unbelief the Pharisees had against Him. Pharisees were required to memorize the entire Torah. They memorized Isaiah 53 and knew that the Messiah would come as a humble Servant first. As the spiritual leaders of Israel, they KNEW who He was and yet they chose to harden their hearts in unbelief. Refusing to acknowledge the Truth of His Lordship.
What was it about Jesus that made Him so fearless in the face of such unbelief, even from His own family? First, He had an encounter in the Jordan river and the Holy Spirit came from Heaven and dwelt inside Him. He was anointed by Yahweh to do all the miraculous things He did. Second, He stayed connected to His heavenly Father through prioritized prayer. He did what He had to do to make time to meet with His Father. Third, He knew who He was and He knew His destiny in God and He was determined to run His race fully and complete it in victory. The attitudes of others who opposed Him did not move Him to stop His mission. He was there for those who wanted Him.
As I was pondering these things, I realized that following Jesus is just like any other relationship. Think about it. Say you are introduced to someone at a gathering. You can now honestly say “I know that person.” But when you leave their company and don’t have anything else to do with them because of life’s distractions, your introduction will fade away until you barely remember their name. Lots of people have been introduced to Jesus Christ, but if they don’t seek out His company regularly, He will become a distant memory. Why then do people expect the benefits of His friendship without putting in the effort of relationship? Yet people do it all the time. We MUST have a relationship with Jesus, not just an introduction and then go on with our lives. He MUST become that Pearl of great price in our hearts…NUMBER ONE.
The Truth Nugget I have realized is that the more involved we get with Jesus Christ, we too will face the same naysayers who oppose the Holy Spirit in us. We become an oddity in our families and in our communities…even in our church. And like our Master, we too must become totally fearless and keep pressing on for the prize of the high calling of God in our lives. It is that Pearl of great price! Beloved, be encouraged today to keep pressing on. Your reward is great!
Don’t know Him?