Jesus And Family
In 1941 the Germans were bombing London, their U-boats were sinking one ship after another in the North Sea, and Hitler gave the order to expand Auschwitz. This was hardly the time for an Oxford don to begin a lecture series on the BBC titled, “Right and Wrong: A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” But when C.S. Lewis began to speak over the air, people listened. They huddled around their radios and heard this:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the 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.”
This is Lewis’ famous Liar, Lunatic, or Lord argument presented in what has become a classic, Mere Christianity. Most of us are appalled by the idea that Jesus was lying and hardly anyone wants to say he was insane, but the writer of Mark takes the label “lunatic” and declares that Jesus’ own family came to this conclusion as the crowds flocked to Jesus and he couldn’t even find time to eat.
“And Jesus came to his home, and again the crowd gathered. The press was so strong that they weren’t even able to eat some bread. When his own family heard, they came to take control of him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’” Mark 3:20-21
Mark is building a case to push us to decide. At his baptism God claimed that Jesus was his beloved Son (Mark 1:11). When Jesus expelled the demons, they cried out that he was God’s Holy One (Mark 1:24), and when Jesus claimed to have the authority to forgive sins, the religious authorities accused him of blasphemy (Mark 2:6-7). Then his own family tried to reign him in with the justification that their family member had lost his mind (Mark 3:21).
We have to decide with the religious leaders that he was an evil liar, with the demons who knew who he was but didn’t trust in him, or with his earthly family who said he’s insane. Accept the liar, lunatic positions and then we have to explain how this first century rabbi, rejected by the religious leaders and by his family, became the divine Savior who conquered death and ascended to heaven. A person can be agnostic, but they have to explain what Lewis clearly presented in Mere Christianityis the core belief of over two billion Christians in the world today and millions and millions down through the centuries. St. Mark, like Lewis, challenges us to get down on our knees and trust in Jesus.
LORD, thanks for the honesty of Mark’s Gospel that tells us that in your Son’s earthly life his own family thought he was crazy, but then after the resurrection a half-brother like James became an ardent believer and a leader in the Jerusalem Church.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!