This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in its head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.
This parable is a parable of hope. The growth of the kingdom is not the work of individual Christians—or even the Church as a whole—but rather is the work of God Himself. Because of this, the growth of the kingdom is hidden and mysterious. Yet it is also certain, for “night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Though we cannot see God at work in the world to save it, though it seems to grow “all by itself,” we have a certain hope and confidence. The good news itself is latent with power and a will to shine forth, illumining the deep darkness of this world. We are merely observers and participants in its work.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
This text struck me this morning in devotions. Jesus is opposed by those who should be in greatest agreement with Him, because they were closest to Him—His own family and the teachers of Torah [the first five books of the Bible, Genesis to Deuteronomy; the books of Moses; the Law of Israel]. Surely his own family should support the ministry of this Rabbi as He heals the sick and casts out demons, and one would think that the teachers of Torah, who are the religious authorities and those supposed to know most deeply the mind of God, would be in touch with Jesus’ divine mission.
Yet neither are. They say, “He is out of his mind”, and, “He is possessed by Beelzebub!” That causes me to stop and pause, to think carefully about my own perspective on Jesus. Do I really understand what Jesus is up to in His mission? If Jesus were to come today instead of 2000 years ago, would I denounce Him as performing His work through Satan’s power or being out of his mind? I find Jesus always cracking apart and breaking down—sometimes even exploding—every theological box I try to put around Him to more fully understand Him. Every time I think I’ve got a handle on where He’s going, I find Him striding down an entirely different path. I can never comprehend this infinite God-man, though I’ll pour all I have into the effort, because every new taste of understanding is sweeter than the last. I know that what I can do, what He calls me to do, is to simply follow Him down the winding trail He blazes.