And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:21 (ESV)
As Kingdom leaders follow their personal calling from the Lord, they are often surprised by a lack of support or encouragement from those that know and love them. So it was with the mother and brothers of Jesus.
As Jesus was growing into a public figure and crowds began to gather to hear Him and be healed, word came to His family. Their conclusion – knowing He had no training for such, was that He had lost His mind – literally, He had gone insane. Thus, they came to Capernaum to take Him back home, for His own ‘protection’ no doubt and to save the family any further embarrassment. But their mission failed.
Sometime thereafter, Jesus returned to Nazareth, His home town. There, He taught in the synagogue, but few supported Him. He could do little in their presence because of their lack of faith in Him (see Mark 6:1-6). Jesus marveled at their unbelief and proclaimed that a prophet is not honored among those who know him well – even in his own house. This must have been quite discouraging.
Towards the end of His public ministry we see another encounter with Jesus and His brothers in John 7:1-5. His brothers (the term could also mean brothers and sisters) chided Him for not going to Jerusalem and publicly showing off His ministry to the world. Why are you hiding in Galilee – if it’s attention you seek, then go to the epicenter of the Jewish world and show off! John tells us that they said this because they did not believe in Him.
But, after the resurrection, Jesus made a personal appearance to His brother, James (see 1 Corinthians 15:7) that must have been quite the encounter! The result was James’s conversion and belief in Jesus as His Lord and Savior. Mary and her boys were in the room praying with the Eleven after the Ascension (see Acts 1:14). Thus, during the 40 days post-resurrection, they came to belief. James would later become the local leader of the Jerusalem church (see Acts 15).
In the introduction of his epistle, James identifies himself as, “the bond slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). What a transformation! What humility! And another of His brothers, Jude, also writes in the introduction of his letter, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James…” (Jude 1:1).
Those who know you best may be slow to embrace your role or calling. Jesus experienced the same. Don’t let their lack of acceptance or support deter you from obeying the Lord’s clear destiny that He has designed you for. Follow hard after Him and trust that those who know and love you will see Christ’s hand on you and your leadership over time.