Jesus’ ministry was just getting started. He had done several significant miracles and large crowds were beginning to follow him.
Religious leaders had growing concerns about his popularity, and were beginning to spread the rumor that his power was demonic. He had just chosen the twelve disciples he would pour his life into, and returned home for a little rest. Multitudes showed up at the house seeking healing and ministry. Things were really shaping up for a dynamic ministry.
All this activity, controversy, and interest certainly got the attention of Jesus’ family. We see their response in Mark 3:21:
When his family heard about it, they went to get him. They said, “He’s out of his mind!”(God’s Word translation)
That may not be the response we would anticipate from those who should know him best.
What was certainly true about Jesus was that he was not living like other people lived! From the perspective of those around him, he was radically different. If they were right, he was very wrong.
But what if he was right?
Rather than getting comfortable in the world, Jesus lived as though he was just passing through. Rather than caring for his needs, he spent all his time serving others. Rather than pleasing the religious and community leaders, he simply ministered to the poor, the outcasts, and the sinners.
Romans 12: 1 and 2 is perhaps the classic text challenging you and I to think and live differently from others:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
It is God’s desire, and should certainly be our desire, that we think and act differently from those around us, from those who do not know the Lord. As Paul says in these verses, our focus should be on discerning God’s will in every situation, and living to please Him.
This is not to say that our focus should be on the differences! The challenge here is not that we concern ourselves with what others are doing. This is a challenge to change our own thinking and behavior—not to make others conform to us!
As I examine my life today, am I living in such a radically different way that those around me might think that I am actually out of my mind? Or, even more importantly, is God pleased with my life and thinking; would He agree that I have been transformed and that I am demonstrating His good and perfect will in my life?