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On your Mark

Perspective

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:20,21, NIV)

I was traveling on a bus with a group of friends in western Turkey, visiting the sites of the seven churches talked about in Revelation 2 and 3.

We had already been under way several hours when I noticed an American newspaper on the empty seat next to me. I took off my new eyeglasses to read some of the finer print. When I was done, I put my glasses back on and looked out the windows to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Something was wrong. My vision now seemed blurred.

I thought that perhaps I was just tired from jet lag, so I closed my eyes for a while. But when I looked around again I still could not see clearly. I opened and closed each eye until I figured out that the vision problem was in my right eye.

Inwardly I felt panic and thought, I’m having a stroke in my right eye. I became fearful.

The bus finally stopped for lunch. I headed through the food line and found a table in a corner by myself. I didn’t want to eat or talk with anyone because I was depressed and concerned about my condition deteriorating.

Just then one of my friends, who had been seated across from me on the bus, came over smiling and said, “I noticed this was underneath your seat. Is this yours?” It was the lens to the right side of my eyeglasses. It had evidently fallen out of the frame when I picked up the newspaper. I popped the lens back into the frame. I could see clearly again.

I was not having a stroke after all. What I had thought was happening was not what was really going on.

It’s that way here in the Gospel story. Jesus’ own family thinks He’s crazy. From their point of view, Jesus has left off being sane.

It was probably His selection of the Twelve (Mark 3:13-19) that did it. The family had gone along and said nothing about His teaching and healing — but, immediately after the selection of disciples as apostles, they weighed in. Clearly, they opposed the direction He was taking.

They had left Jesus alone so long as He was the sole actor. But now He was institutionalizing. He was not going to be a solo prophet/miracle worker who passed from the scene when His time was done. He intended to perpetuate himself through others.

His family thought He had lost His mind.

I wonder how many times we may misread Jesus. It’s as though the lens to our spiritual glasses has fallen out. We do not see clearly, and as a result leap to false conclusions.

Jesus was not crazy. He knew exactly what He was doing. And He knows exactly what He is doing in your life and mine.

In times of distress and heartache, we often do not see very clearly. It’s as though we are having a spiritual stroke in one of our eyes. We feel that God has failed us. We endlessly go through the “what ifs” and the “if onlys.” Life seems like a maze in which we have lost our way.

But Jesus sees the whole picture of our lives. He has the complete overview. Let’s avoid the mistake His family made. Let’s not jump to wrong conclusions.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I’m sometimes like Your family — I don’t understand what You’re doing. Forgive me for not trusting You. You see the whole, and I only see a part. The day will come when I also will see clearly.


GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

Podcasts of On your Mark are available in video and audio.

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