I know there are many people who don’t believe in what seems like the silly idea that God would become flesh, die for the sins of the world and rise again. It isn’t a story that fits into our idea of “normal.” I certainly get that there are many reasons not to believe, but I just stumbled on another reason why I do believe. In the book of Mark 3:20-21 it tells us, “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.”
Jesus’ own family had an initial response to His Messiah claims, and their initial response was “He is out of his mind.” If one of our siblings became the President of the United States, how many of us would have a hard time calling the kid we once used to harass “Mr. President”? We’d have a hard time. If one of our siblings did miracles and claimed to be the Messiah, we’d have an even harder time. Apparently Jesus’ family had a very hard time with what He was saying and doing. They simply did not believe. They were like just about everyone else who thought, “There is no way our carpenter brother is what He’s saying He is!”
They were dealing with the same tri-lemma C. S. Lewis presented in his book “Mere Christianity” so many years ago: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Jesus’ family started out thinking He was a lunatic, but after His death, burial and resurrection His brother’s Jude and James actually came to the place where they believed in Him as the Lord of life. To me, that is further proof that Jesus is in fact what He claimed to be – Lord and God. The fact that Jude and James became believers in the older brother they grew up with in Nazareth, and then pillars of leadership in the early church, writers of the New Testament, and then James was martyred for His faith is all further evidence that Jesus is legit as Lord and God. If Jesus’ own brothers could go from “He’s a lunatic!” to “He’s my Lord!” and fundamentally trust in Him for an indestructible life, and then willingly lay down their own lives for their belief in Him, then there is something very real going on with Jesus.