I should clarify. I think that Jesus loves you (and me, of course). I think he loves us all too much to really care what we think, both in general, and about him in particular. Parents get this, right? Your kid asks you for ice cream for breakfast. You know that they are going to be ticked and think you’re the devil incarnate if you give them that bowl of oatmeal sludge you have gurgling on the stove. And you also know you will be a superhero, in their mind, if you give them some good ol’ Cookies ‘n Cream covered in maple syrup.
But you’re a good parent and you don’t care about the ridiculous opinions and desires of your two-year old. Am I right?
Well, let me let you in on a little secret. Jesus doesn’t care either.
Mark chapter three is fascinating because it lays out a whole sequence of events where one person after another is trying to squeeze Jesus into doing what they want him to do, into being what they want him to be. And if they don’t get it, they throw a hissy fit. And, you know what? He doesn’t care.
People are mobbing him, asking to be healed. Sure, he heals some, even a lot. But not all of them. In fact, he has a boat ready to take him out of there. Why would Jesus be so mean not to heal everyone. He could, of course, but he didn’t. Here’s what I think. If all he did was heal, then that’s all we would see, a healer. We would pigeon-hole Jesus into one thing, but he’s not just one thing and for us to view him that way is, in the end, not good for us. And sometimes being healed is not what is best for us. The Apostle Paul prayed three times to be healed and he wasn’t. Did Jesus not care? No, he loved Paul and Paul learned that his grace was enough. He choked down the oatmeal.
Later in this chapter he chose some disciples, but man, talk about the worst kickball team ever. He chose a bunch of losers! Uneducated men, political maniacs, cheats, liars and traitors. Not the crew I would have taken and to be honest it ticks me off a bit. We’re supposed to follow a guy who chooses a team like this to get the Kingdom going? Who was advising you, Jesus? Who were your political strategists? I know national and international ministries whose entire philosophy is built around reaching and attracting the best of the best. Apparently, Jesus didn’t consult with them, first. Yeah, he didn’t.
Jesus didn’t even care about his own mom. How’s that for harsh? She’s out waiting for him in the car so they can go to the grocery store and he’s in yapping away. She’s ticked (I think), but Jesus doesn’t care. Who is my mother? Yikes. She wants him by her side, meeting her needs, but Jesus will have none of that. So go ahead, place some expectations on Jesus; see how far that gets you. I submit: he does not care.
Name-calling won’t work, either. The religious leaders called him a devil, but they couldn’t rattle him. He gave them the kind of snappy comeback that only Jesus could give (If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand). They were not smarter than him. We are not smarter than him. And I for one am pretty glad about that. Most of the time.
So here’s an encouraging thought: Jesus doesn’t care about you. He loves you too much.