Mark 3:21: For they said: He is become mad.
He was crowded by so many people that he couldn’t even eat, Jesus was. And so were those who followed and served him faithfully. And his family, not so much the ones who loved him best or knew him best, but the ones who thought themselves most qualified to judge, decided that he must be crazy.
The leap is large and confusing to me at first, until I remember back a couple of weeks ago.
After a total emotional collapse, I was resting and recovering, surrounded by people who wanted to serve me. And help me remember to eat. But the new meds I was taking made eating hard. I would say “yes” to something offered, then turn it away. I would take a plate I thought I was so hungry for and suddenly feel too tired to lift the fork to my lips. Salmon skin made me suddenly hate my favorite food. Crackers were salty and scratchy. My spirit was tired. It needed rest and nourishment. And yet the circling of those who most wanted to serve me made it hard for me to find my way through the fog to my place at the table. I had entered the house of my recovery, but I could not find my way to the table.
And it made me look crazy.
I knew it did.
And while an emotional collapse and new psych meds may well qualify one as such, what we all longed for was my recovery, not for me to be seized and taken away.
And this is the difference between me and you and our Jesus. We can be weak and weary and unable to respond to the people who are inviting us to their table, and we are loved, “holy and blameless in his sight”. (Ephesians 1: 4)
On the other hand, Jesus, in the same position, becomes the enemy of the world–who doesn’t want an apparently weak and crazy Savior, who doesn’t want a God who stops for the sinners before he takes his place of honor. They’d like to take that kind of Savior and hide him behind bars or nail him to a cross to do away with such madness.
And yet when they do in fact “win,” and his blood is spilled and his spirit is given up, the rest of us who will walk this crazy spinning planet until the end of time are saved, in our weakness, in all our brokenness, in all our craziness.
And we know what it is that we are hungry for: the blood of eternal sacrifice that redeems us. And we all rise behind him to a new life, where no matter how off kilter our brains might get, our hearts are held by a Savior who loves us enough to wait and nourish us before he takes for himself.
A Savior who loves us like mad, who loves us like crazy, who loves us with the heart of the Father who sits on the throne and smiles at us as we take and eat.
Colleen C. Mitchell is the author of Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels (Servant, 2016). She’s wife to Greg and mother to five amazing sons here on earth and five in heaven. Colleen and Greg are foreign missionaries in Costa Rica, where they run the St. Francis Emmaus Center, a ministry that welcomes indigenous mothers into their home to access medical care. She works out what it means to trust Jesus, grieve well, and live a raw faith at her blog Blessed Are the FeetMark