June 07, 2009

Mad, Bad, or God

Mark 3:20-35

“Here are my mother and my brothers!”
Mark 3:34


A dilemma is a situation in which a person must make a tough decision between two choices. A trilemma involves three choices.

The Christian scholar C. S. Lewis once described the trilemma that every person faces who hears about Jesus. Either Jesus is who he says he is and deserves our complete obedience, or he is an impostor and is not to be trusted, or he is out of his mind. There is no middle ground. Lewis put it this way: Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar, or the Lord. He is either mad, bad, or God.

We see three choices in our Scripture passage for today. Jesus’ own family came, intending to take charge of him because they thought he had lost his mind.

Some of the religious leaders who were there thought something worse. They believed Jesus was an impostor and was possessed by the devil.

But there were others who took another position. They listened to Jesus and believed what he said. They made him the center of their lives and became his spiritual family. They believed he was God.

Today, there are people who try to avoid all three of these choices. They hear about Jesus and shrug their shoulders, strangely indifferent to his message. That’s a dangerous position to take, because not to decide about Jesus is to decide against him.

Lord God, help us all to see that Jesus is neither out of his mind nor a liar who serves the devil. Help us to do your will and make Jesus the center of our lives. In his name, Amen.

About the author — R. Scott Greenway

R. Scott Greenway was born in Mexico City in 1964, the fourth child of missionary parents. He graduated from Calvin College in 1986, Calvin Theological Seminary in 1991, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2002. He and his wife, Kelly, have four children. He pastored the Irving Park Christian Reformed Church in Midland Park, New Jersey, and currently serves as pastor of Caledonia Christian Reformed Church in Michigan. He enjoys a variety of outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing.

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