“Et tu, Brute?” Shakespeare’s haunting words uttered by Julius Caesar seconds after his best friend thrust a knife into his back paint a picture similar to Jesus’ dealings with his closest companions. Caesar’s best friend Brutus betrays him at his weakest moment. Similarly, Jesus endures false accusations from those who should have known Him best.
Conflict On All Sides
Immediately after calling His twelve disciples, Jesus faces a confrontation sandwich with his family (vv. 20–21 and 31–35) flanking the religious Scribes (vv. 22–30). His kinfolk—those who spent years watching Jesus live a perfect life—think He is raving about like a lunatic. The Scribes ratchet up the accusations calling Him both demon possessed and one who casts out demons by the power of the Enemy. One can understand the Scribes’ frustrations with Jesus as they stand to lose their religious power in light of Jesus’ kingdom. However, seeing Jesus’ own family confuse the Messiah for a madman begs the question, what made Jesus seem crazy to those who knew Him best?
A quick glance at the Old Testament reveals Yahweh as powerful. After all, He creates the universe with the breath of His mouth (Genesis 1–2), destroys the Egyptians through natural calamities (Exodus 6–12), and rains down fire on false prophets (1 Kings 18). It follows then that if Jesus is in fact the Messiah— the Savior of His people—He’d better demonstrate power as well. In just the few short chapters in Mark, we have already seen that Jesus is more powerful than demons, leprosy, sickness, paralysis, and even sin. This sort of power has a polarizing effect on people: they either run toward Christ or reject His authority.
Sadly, in Jesus’ case, many choose the latter. The Scribes accuse Jesus of two self-contradictory claims. They argue a demon possesses Him while also asserting that Jesus, by the power of the Enemy, casts out demons. Jesus, speaking in a parable, explains they can’t have their devil’s food cake and eat it too.
The Scribes and all those listening learn that only a more powerful person successfully exorcises a demon and keeps it from returning. Although speaking in a somewhat veiled manner through the parable, Jesus clearly communicates that His ability to drive out demons demonstrates that His power supersedes that of the Enemy. However strong the Enemy and his demons might be, Jesus is stronger.
Jesus’ polarizing effect on people carries forward today, and we have to ask ourselves, “Do I trust that Jesus is more powerful than whatever I am facing?”
Insiders Versus Outsiders
After Jesus faces false accusations from the Scribes, the bread in His accusation sandwich comes looking for Him. Although His family probably felt entitled to come inside to Jesus, they learn a valuable lesson about insiders versus outsiders in God’s kingdom. With the great power Jesus possesses, He could make insiders out of the religious elite like the Scribes or favoring those in his immediate family through nepotism. Instead, in God’s kingdom insiders are those who see Jesus’ power and run toward Him instead of rejecting Him. Jesus welcomes you on the inside.
Jesus demonstrates power over and over again. What does this reveal about Him? Do we believe Jesus is powerful in our lives? Why do we doubt Jesus’ power?
I know that Jesus is powerful in my life, I believe that he answers my prayers in ways that he knows is best for me. Of course, in the moment I may not agree…..but I know in my heart that he knows what is right.
I think we might doubt Jesus’ power because he sees things differently than we do in the moment, if something does not go "our" way we may doubt his power.
I believe and do not doubt that Jesus is powerful. I have seen this personally in a recent family miracle situation. I love that we see in the scripture that "His power supersedes that of the Enemy."
I find it just a little sad that Jesus has to work so hard to get people to follow him
HE IS PERSISTENT
The power of prayer is mighty
One of the things we talked about in small group a couple of weeks ago relates to this idea of Jesus’ power; we in our society to tend to associate power with a negative connotation. This is often due to the misuse of the power given to those who have it. Jesus was so counterculture in His use of His authority in that He used it set things right for us. One phrase from the devotional that stood out to me (paraphrased) is how we have a choice to yield to Jesus’ power or reject it. I do believe Jesus is powerful in my life, I just struggle to yield to his sovereignty. Part of this struggle for me personally has been that those who have had "power" over me (like parents, aunts, grandparents,etc) in my upbringing used their power to control me and hurt me. Whereas Jesus he uses it to keep me safe, to heal me and to help me live out His purposes. I think I have been scared to believe that Jesus’ power was good and I feared that He was trying to control me and hurt me like I was hurt by the authority figures I grew up with. Going through therapy and re-evaluating those relationships, setting better boundaries, having a relationship with God and renewing my mind in Christ have all contributed to me allowing myself to yield more fully to God. Yet it’s still a struggle to let God Lord my life, especially in areas where I have been hurt and am still healing from. I don’t doubt His power and I am renewing my mind by reminding myself that Jesus’ power is good.
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