by Neil Bergmann
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Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35).
Read Mark 3:20–35
In today’s reading, Jesus is in trouble again. Firstly, he is in trouble with the religious authorities because he is casting out demons. Their logic seems to go something like this: We are important religious people, true representatives of God’s people, and we can’t cast out demons. So these demons won’t answer to God. They must only answer to Satan, and if they can be cast out by Jesus, then Jesus must be a representative of Satan. Their argument doesn’t make much sense, and Jesus quickly refutes it. Jesus is God’s true representative because he is healing those people that Satan is seeking to destroy. God is indeed much more powerful than any demon.
Secondly, Jesus is in trouble with his family. They seem to think he is doing too much, isn’t even taking time to properly eat, and is upsetting the religious authorities. They’d like him to dial it back a little, not rock the boat and take things a bit more slowly. It seems like they are ready to stage an intervention (for his own good, of course).
These gospel stories often act as a mirror to our own thoughts and motivations. As proclaimers of God’s kingdom, are we ready to rock the boat? Are we prepared to take on the demons of our time? Or do we believe those messages that the world tells us – you aren’t good enough, you need more stuff to make you happy, you can’t make a difference to injustice and hatred, look after number one because no one else will, don’t rock the boat? Are we too busy caring for ourselves to spend time in the kingdom of God?
The Holy Spirit wants to fill us with the wisdom and courage, to choose life in the kingdom of God. The world wants us to reject God’s strength and depend on our own to choose death, separated from the only one who can save us. Choose life!
Lord of Life, open my eyes to the lies of this world of death. Help me to choose you – to choose life. Amen.
Neil Bergmann is currently the chair of Lutheran Earth Care Australia and New Zealand. A retired computer engineer, he worships at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Rochedale, Queensland. He enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with his family.