We know that Jesus’ mother Mary and His half-brother James became believers. But Jesus wasn’t always their Lord. There was a time when they tried to “take charge” of Jesus, to control Him.
Last week, while preparing to teach a Bible study class, I came across the evidence. I’ve read the passage many times before, but this time God gave me some fresh application. Very personal application.
It was early in Jesus’ ministry. He had just called the Twelve. The crowds were growing and clamoring for His attention. They wanted more miracles. The Jewish leaders’ antagonism toward Jesus grew in correlation to His popularity with the common folk. And it all got back to Jesus’ family in Nazareth.
The scene opens with Jesus and His disciples in a house, probably tired and weary from travel and ministry. But the crowds found Him again, packing the dwelling and the immediate area. The demands of the people were so great, Jesus and the disciples could not even take time to eat.
That’s when we read this:
When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:21, NIV
Jesus’ family attempted an intervention. But why? The Scripture doesn’t give us details, just that they thought Jesus had lost His mind. Maybe they thought – like the Jewish leaders claimed – that Jesus was possessed by a demon. Maybe they thought He was the head of some outlandish cult. Maybe they were concerned about His safety or worried about their own reputation.
Whatever the exact reason, they decided to put a stop to it. To take charge. To make Jesus listen to reason and come home to Nazareth. They probably even thought they had Jesus’ best interests at heart.
If you think about it, it really is a funny scene. The little family entourage planned to seize Jesus and take Him against His will. That’s what “take charge” in this passage means. They planned to impose their will on the One who had been casting out demons and restoring sight to the blind.
Ridiculous, right?! But don’t we sometimes try to do the same? I do, anyway. See if you might fall into one of the following.
3 Ways We Try to Take Charge of Jesus
- Ask Jesus to bless your plans – Oh boy! I’ve done this more times than I can count. I get carried away with all these great ideas for ministry and jump in. Then I take them to Jesus and ask for His blessing.
- Attempt to manipulate Jesus – Have you ever asked God to trade favors? “Lord, if you will just do …, then I will do …” God doesn’t cut deals or make bargains.
- Give God your wish list – I’m as guilty of this as anybody. I put my “prayer list” before God and expect Him to spit out the right answers like a divine vending machine.
These three things are just a sampling of some of the ways we Christians sometimes attempt to “take charge” of Jesus. We want to bend Jesus to our will instead of allow Him to bend us to His. I admit it. It’s a daily battle for me. That’s why the Holy Spirit so often reminds me of Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
In what ways have you tried to “take charge” of Jesus? How can the spiritual truth found in Galatians 2:20 help us to give Jesus charge of us instead?