Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” —Mark 3:20–22 (ESV)
Relatively early in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ ministry has taken off, so much so that He and His disciples have to start accommodating for large crowds. Following Jesus’ instructions, the disciples ready a boat for Jesus because the crowds are ‘pressing’ Him. Mark reports that crowds of people with ailments also pressed around Him because He had healed so many others.
In today’s passage, Jesus then returns home, where the crowds continue to ‘press’. Imagine Jesus’ family and friends witnessing this for the first time—they knew Jesus, but not in the context of this sort of popularity. The crowds were such that they couldn’t even have a meal! So his family hears of it and comes to take him, concluding Jesus is out of his mind! And the religious elites, already looking to take Jesus down in Mark’s Gospel, claim Jesus is possessed! Jesus answers both claims. First, he argues against the religious leaders, showing that its impossible that He is possessed by an evil spirit. And next, when word is sent that his family is seeking Him, He says that His family is ‘whoever does the will of God’. And Jesus goes on ministering.
Jesus might have let these two significant groups of people prevent Him from fulfilling His calling from the Lord. His own family, perhaps meaning well, thought He had lost His mind. And the religious leaders, including experts in the Scripture, were claiming He was possessed. But Jesus stayed true to what God had called Him to, despite the resistance. What about you? Are you experiencing resistance in your pursuit of the will of God or your calling? Are you feeling deflated or defeated? Renew your sense of purpose and ask the Lord to strengthen you to persevere.