20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
Here is one interesting little authenticator of the Scripture. You might have read in conspiracy-theorizing fiction (think The Da Vinci Code) that the Bible was actually written by liars who wanted to make Jesus look super good and give power to the early church. However, what we see happening right here in Mark 3 simply does not fit with such a conspiracy.
In verses 20-21, we see Mark tell us that Jesus’ own family thought he was nuts. In verse 22, we see that Mark then tells us that the most prominent religious thinkers of Jesus’ day called him demon-possessed. Simply put, if an author was trying to spin a yarn about Jesus being more than he actually claimed to be, they would not have written these things down for future consumption. The questioning nature of Jesus’ own family and the Pharisees is evidence that Mark’s gospel was written, not by a man who was attempting to convince us of something false, but rather by someone who wanted to communicate the facts, regardless of the light they shed on the characters in the narrative.
Of course a good conspiracy theorist might argue that this authenticating device is exactly the tricky little thing. Maybe Mark planted this ugly little passage in order to throw his detractors off the trail. The problem is, in those days, people simply didn’t’ write like that or think like that. It is a decidedly modern writing style that brings realistic twists and red herrings into the plot of fiction to make it look more realistic. Such devices simply were not used at the time that the biblical authors wrote. We must not translate Dan Brown’s writing style back into the first century A.D.; it just will not fit there.
By the way, I’m not mad at Dan Brown for writing a piece of fiction. I see the undo harm that books like Brown’s can do to the faith of the naive, but I do not expect anything different from a lost world that loves its conspiracies. However, an author that will raise such questions about the Son of God must repent of this and embrace Christ to be forgiven—just as all people must repent of sin and embrace Christ to be forgiven.
The point I want to make is only this: Mark’s gospel shows us clearly that it is not a sneaky little fiction designed to deceive its readers. The Marks of Mark’s writing (clever huh?) are marks of truth and authenticity. Mark would not have allowed negative light to be cast on Jesus from his family if Mark did not believe what he was writing to be true—every bit.