Pastor James Hopkins preached this sermon on the Third Sunday in Lent, 3/20/2022. The service was broadcast live on the FLC youtube channel at 11am. To follow along from home, the bulletin is available as a PDF: Lent3 Bulletin
The texts for the sermon were the day’s gospel lesson and Mark 3:20-35. To read the Bible texts for the Third Sunday in Lent, click here.
He is out of His mind, you know. More than that, He has no idea what He is doing. He says He wants the very best for you, but that can’t be true. He barely knows you.
So, let’s do it differently. Let’s do it our own way. Let’s eat what we want. Let’s do what we want. Let’s be who we want. It would be crazy not to.
That simple lie was all it took to divide the first household. And since a house divided can’t stand, that was all it took to make the very first house fall down.
Of course, it wasn’t just the house on 1 Eden St. It was the whole garden; and all their pets; and all their children not yet born.
God made a beautiful home for us. But when sin came into that home, when it divided us from each other and from our God, when that house fell down, a new house sprang up. And a strong man stood vigil over it.
Satan, the prince of this world, the master of this demented household, plopped an easy chair in front of the door, and sat down to keep watch over his stolen goods, to guard his house.
The move from the Garden of Eden to the Land of Nod was not a step up. It was hunger, and hurt. It was pain and labor. Their old home was like a dream; but their new home was more like a nightmare. And it made them crazy. They never imagined it would be like this.
Satan’s offer seemed so sane, and so reasonable. More than that it was practical:
To do what we want; to eat what seems best to us; to live as we like – all that serves the greatest good: namely, our own. And what could be crazy about that?
It’s infected everyone– this madness. This thing called sin, that turns the world upside down; calling good “evil” and evil “good.” And it is so powerful, that in Mark’s account of the text you just heard, it was even getting the best of Jesus’ own family.
They love Him, but it seems that He is taking things too far. And so they came to seize Him, for they were saying, “He is out of His mind.”
Up to that point in Mark’s Gospel, “out of His mind” looked like…
Being Baptized (Mark 1:1-11)
Spending 40 days in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13);
Making Disciples out of fishermen (Mark 1:16-20);
Casting out demons (Mark 1:21-28);
Healing the masses (Mark 1:29-34);
Touching lepers (Mark 1:40-45);
Working on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23 – 3:6)
And befriending guys He knows will betray Him (Mark 3:13-21)…
Keep in mind that’s just a summary of chapters 1-3. Jesus is really just getting started.
So, you might understand why the family would want to come grab Him by the ear, and make Him go take a nap.
At least, I think you would understand.
Because so much of the time, even to you who know Him best, even to His family, Jesus appears to be “out of His mind.”
Love those who hate me? Pick up my cross and follow Him? Get married before having sex? Come to church and Bible Study every Sunday? Give a real 10% for the work of the church? I know, you would never say that out loud. But, you don’t have to.
Our hearts and hands shout aloud: “He’s out of His mind.”
It’s worth considering. The brilliant author and apologist, C.S. Lewis, offered that as a possibility once. Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Lewis offered three plausible options: Jesus can be either: a) a liar, b) a madman – on par with someone who thinks He is a boiled potato, or c) the unique, incarnate, Son of God.
The Resurrection, of course, is proof that the answer is “c.” The thing is, though, that all by itself, that is not really Good News. The Good News for you is that there’s some crazy in there, too.
Radical, faithful obedience to God’s Word really does look crazy in a mad world.
But even more than that, crazy looks like… God Himself taking on flesh and being born of a Virgin, in the backwaters of the Roman Empire.
Crazy looks like the eternal God, making Himself a descendent of Eve, coming in weakness to crush the Serpent’s head just as He said.
Crazy looks like Jesus going to the cross for you, and dying for stuff He never did wrong, for your stuff.
But in weakness, in death, and in sacrifice, Jesus is the Stronger Man. And He has broken into the strong man’s house, He has bound him in chains, and plundered His goods. With pierced hands, He has snatched you away. And so He has taken you home again, to a House undivided, even into His own Body, the Church.
The Gospel is crazy. Eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, and believing that there our sins are forgiven, just because He said so:
Trusting that Jesus actually does what He says in Holy Baptism, that He names you and claims you and makes you His own; that’s crazy, at least to everyone outside the house.
And then that He would put that Gospel into your hands, and trust you to share it with others: through your gifts, through your lips, and through your lives; He must be out of His mind.
That’s what the world thinks of Jesus’ disciples. Out of their minds.
Still, you should be patient with them. By grace, you are those who do the will of God. By grace, you’re Jesus true brothers and true sisters. By grace, you’re out of your mind, too.
If it still seems strange to talk this way, listen to St. Paul. This is in the section on the Ministry of Reconciliation in Chapter 5. Paul begins a sentence this way :
For if we are beside ourselves…
That word is the same one used in the Gospel. So, its really more like:
For if we are out of our mind, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 NKJV
For you, Jesus is absolutely out of His mind. But He knows exactly what He’s doing. And He really does want the very best for you.
This is most certainly true… Because He knows you, and more than that, He’s joined Himself to you. There, in the font, where He made you His true brothers and sisters, where He made you crazy like Him.
So, let’s do it differently. Let’s do everything Jesus’ way. Let’s eat whatever He feeds us. Let’s do whatever He wants. Let’s be who He says we are, in Him. Because anything less than that would be utterly and tragically sane.
So when it comes down to it:
If we’re going to be crazy like Jesus, or sane like the world:
We’re going with crazy.