Sermon for June 6, 2021

“Let’s Go Crazy”

Mark 3:20-35

 

First I wish to say that there are a lot of crazy people in this world!

 

I remember graduating from high school and going off to college, and then I realized that everyone around me suffered from a mild form of insanity. There was the fellow in my freshmen dormitory that kept knocking the fire alarm off the wall with the bar to his weights and tossing the bell out our 5th floor window onto the roof of the cafeteria. The university would send its workers to come in and repair the damage, because the school was legally obligated. About a week later, the bell would be missing again. Then the school charged that side of the dormitory for damages done. He was crazy.

 

Then there was another floor mate who didn’t get along with his roommate and a few others. One day the elevator broke down on our floor so that the doors kept opening and closing, but it wasn’t going anywhere. His roommate moved this fellow’s bed, his nightstand and lamp into this stuck elevator and put up a large sign that read Junior’s Mobile Motel. They called him Junior, but his name was Rob. All of them were crazy.

 

Now as I have ventured out in life, I am not sure that life is any saner than in those earlier years. Some of those college stories are a bit humorous, except for the fact that Rob didn’t deserved to be bullied. I am just going to say that there are a lot of crazy people in this world. Today a lot of times the insanity of our age seems to be catching up to us in many tragic ways. In the news we hear stories of gun violence, mass shootings, divisions, the polarization of political parties, wars, the ongoing threat of climate change, the inequality between the really rich and the other 99% of our world; the cost of education and health care. Doctors become millionaires and others are strapped with debts that they will never be able to repay, because they got sick. The total educational debt is estimated at 1.6 trillion dollars. The average debt for someone graduated is over 37,000, and that doesn’t come with a job guarantee. The World is crazy in a sad way.

 

Did you know that some people thought Jesus was a crazy man? When he started preaching many of the people who heard him thought he was another example of our insane world. Some were convinced that the good he was doing was being accomplished by evil means. The scribes who were listening to Jesus accused him of being demonically possessed, but probably they were jealous of the power his ministry exhibited. They saw what they could not contradict or explain. Jesus showed that he had power over every unclean spirit and illness, and so they said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

 

Beelzebub was used by the Israelites to refer to Satan or the prince of demons, but actually the name means “lord of flies.” It was a guardian deity of the Ek ro nites. Another definition I came across was that Beelzebub means dung-god. It was really an insult to the Spirit of Christ, and from Jesus response we see that he did not take it lightly.

 

Like a crazy man he warned them of the seriousness of committing an unforgivable sin. Namely calling God and the holy things of God evil, and likewise mistaking evil for good. Logically if you profane, spit upon, and hate the very grace that would save you, where does that leave you? The sin is unforgivable, because you have thrown away the forgiveness given for your own salvation.

 

His own family was told that he was beside himself, and they came out with the straight jacket to get him back home. (Actually probably just some strong ropes or chains) Jesus was speaking with a large crowd and someone comes up to him and says, “Jesus, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside. They would like to see you.” Actually they had come to take him away. Then Jesus tells those around him, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus would not and did not respond to his family’s presence.

 

He was crazy, but Jesus was crazy about doing God’s will; making God’s will known and helping others to do God’s will. Even to the point of separating himself from his own family.

 

You know when I think about it, maybe the real truth is that the whole world is sort of crazy, that no one is really completely sane. Perhaps life is crazy, and our real task is in choosing what we are going to be crazy about.

 

As I went through college, I came to discern the truth of where life needed to be centered. I realized that the one place in this world in which the ground beneath my feet was something more than sinking sand was the ground on which the church stood. For anyone in this life who is seeking for some stable ground along the way –one place that is stable is the spiritual foundation of the church. What I am talking about is not just the institution, but I mean that which is built upon a faith in Jesus Christ.

 

In Christ is the substance that makes for a successful life, and good relationships. Do you want to know the meaning of life? Do you want people who will truly be your friends? Do you want to really enjoy life? Do you want something that is not going to leave you or change with the weather? Then be a part of a faith community and commit your life to a loving God, because much else in this life will eventually fail you or even be harmful. The pleasures of sin are but for a season, but God’s presence and blessings are for an eternity.

 

When the religious leaders accused Jesus of being demonically possessed, he told two parables the first was that of a house divided against itself, and the second was this, “In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.”

 

The point here is that with every heart that listened, Jesus was robbing souls from Satan’s kingdom, and it was Jesus that has the strong man Satan bound. He was not Satan, but he was the one who is able to overcome Satan. Satan is identified in the scriptures as the ruler of this world. He is the strong man, but as we choose to believe in Jesus for our salvation, and equally as important, to live out that faith in our day to day existence, no longer do we serve the cause of evil, but we become brothers and sisters to Jesus. Through Christ we are set free to live godly lives, that we too might become crazy for God.

 

Yes, people will still think you are crazy. I remember when I made the decision to go into the ministry. I had an uncle that told my parents, “Well if Russ can’t find a job, why doesn’t he join the military.” Now there is nothing wrong with serving our country, but the argument being made was that ministry was not a real job, a real calling. A waste of my time and life. I disagreed. Maybe my uncle has changed his mind since then. (Maybe he was just a little crazy)

 

I remember that I had more than one person ask me why I wanted to be a minister.

 

And the truth is any time you draw attention to the fact that you are a believer in Christ there will be someone there to smirk at you. Those who do not know Christ do not understand what it is that motivates those who do. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The knowledge of Christ appears as foolishness, madness, to those who are unsaved.

 

But to us, it is life itself. It is the hope God has given to us, so I say let’s go crazy, but let us go crazy for the right things –That which gives life and hope. That which shall allow us to be named as brothers and sisters to Jesus, and joint heirs of all that God has created for us. That which draws us toward a place of life within and with one another. Venture out into the world and be crazy for Christ. Amen.

Published by Rev. Russell

Pastor at the Lake City United Methodist Church in Lake City, Michigan.

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