Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19960612.htm
MARK: GOSPEL OF THE SERVICE OF CHRIST, GOD'S SERVANT
Part XVII: Learning To Keep Going Amidst Godless Opposition From Family Members
Lesson: Resistance from family members or people who are very acquainted with one's origins due to the power of God working in his life comes from (1) unbelief that God is the real cause of the transformed life and ministry, and (2) that leads to j ealousy that one has a transformed life and lifestyle, and (3) that leads to suspicions of a sinister origin or deceptive motivation to that transformed life. (4) Consequently, family and acquaintances can take offense at a godly lifestyle change in a fami liar person and respond in persecuting him as though he were evil!
- One would think that of all the people most likely to believe in Christ would be the believers own family members. Seeing the obvious change due to Christ's conversion would most likely lead them to be saved.
- However, the response of many unsaved or carnal family members to the godly is quite the opposite, and can really confuse and derail a believer who is expecting support from them.
- Jesus explained the dynamics behind this spiritual opposition from family for our benefit as follows:
- Learning To Keep Going Amidst Godless Opposition From Family Members, Mark 6:1-6.
- When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, the people were exposed to His great words and saw some of His miracles performed there, Mark 6:2.
- However, instead of being glad and believing on Jesus, the people were upset at what they saw:
- Mark states simply that the people were astonished at His great wisdom, Mark 6:2b.
- They were also astonished at His miraculous works, Mark 6:2c.
- What caused this astonishment was the comparison they made with Jesus' ordinary family members regarding the ordinary human wisdom and lack of miracles: since they knew Him to come from a family they knew to b e ordinary, they concluded that his power and wisdom was not of God, but from the underworld of evil, Mark 6:3a,b,c. (Morgan, Mark, p. 134)
- The people of Nazareth noted that his earthly father, Joseph and earthly mother, Mary were ordinary people with ordinary wisdom and powers, Mk. 6:3a.
- They also saw that their offspring, whether Jesus' half brothers or half sisters, were of ordinary wisdom and ordinary human abilities as well, Mark 6:3b.
- Accordingly, they concluded that this supernatural power was not of God, but of the Devil.
- Jesus revealed that jealousy of the people, feeling that they couldn't admit that He was superior in any way to themselves, had motivated this conclusion, 6:4, Morgan, Ibid., p. 135.
- Christ revealed that a prophet is not without honor except among His own people, Mk. 6:4.
- Thus, when people compare a prophet's ministry with his humanly ordinary and thus humanly weak origins, they can respond with unhappiness and offense at his having supernatural gifts to minister!
- This is because they view these gifts not as coming from God, but as coming from another source because of jealousy, and they conclude that these are sinister in origin!
Application: (1) If we have been transformed in our lives and actions by our relationship with Christ, and if family and former acquaintances don't credit the change to God, to explain the change, they will react negatively to us and persecute us a ll out of the motivation of jealousy. Thus, expect an extreme reaction to our lives and testimonies from family members--either of faith as we have or the calling we have of God before them! (2) If we are faced with an unjust, negative response from im mediate family members or former acquaintances when they see the change in our lives or note God's power at work in our ministries, as did Jesus, (a) simply realize the dynamics of unbelief involved and its resulting jealousy as a problem with the OTHERS in the group, and go about ministering and living as unto the glory of God! (b) Also follow Paul's admonition and fill the human relationship void by communing with godly people, 2 Tim. 2:22!