When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said. Mark 3:21 (MSG)
When one decides to follow Jesus and to embark on a faith journey, it is common for the individual’s family system to grind loudly with the changing of gears. This reality goes all the way back to Jesus himself, whose public teaching created as many enemies as it did friends. His own family system, feeling the pressure and the negative consequences of his unexpected rise into the social spotlight, switches gears. Reacting to the shame and negative pressure of the religious authorities, Jesus’ family denies and betrays the perceived traitor to the family system:
“Don’t listen to him! He’s out of his mind, I tell you. He’s always been a bit odd ever since he was a kid.”
Jesus was undaunted by this betrayal, and pressed on with the journey to which He was called. In the end, his family got over their shame and followed Him. Mary followed her son all the way to the foot of the cross. Jesus’ brother, James, became a leader among the early Christians in Jerusalem, and wrote the book of James in the New Testament.
Today, I’m reminded that stepping out in faith to follow Jesus is not always understood nor accepted by family and friends. Even Jesus understood what it was like to be misunderstood and ridiculed by those closest to Him. Faith is acting out of the assurance that you will realize those things for which you can only hope. Sometimes the thing for which we hope is the understanding and grace of those in our own family.