In 1942, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel returned from Northern Africa. He complained to Hitler that British planes were destroying his tanks with American 40 millimeter shells. Hermann Goring replied, “Nothing but latrine rumors. All Americans can make are razor blades and refrigerators.”
People underestimate Jesus, too, though they see His deeds.
Jesus’ family members came to get Him because, “people are saying,” or “rumor has it,” that Jesus has slid past the edge of sanity. They admitted His miracles, especially His exorcisms; but people underestimated Him. He was “beside Himself.” At best, they recognized He had ecstatic religious experiences. At worst, they thought He was psychotic. Both are psychological interpretations. People today, using pop psychology, underestimate Jesus. They call Him, “the great psychologist, the perfect counselor, the mass hypnotist,” missing altogether what Jesus says about Himself.
People in Jesus’ day evaluated Him in a worse way.
His reasoning: Generally speaking, if any country is divided against itself, it collapses. If any family is divided, it falls. Therefore, if Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself, it caves. A 10-year-old child can follow Jesus’ reasoning. Jesus’ actions are the opposite of Satan’s. If Satan and Jesus are partners, the two are at odds and will destroy one another.
Jesus portrayed His ministry as destroying Satan in
Our modern world offers every seduction to occupy us with pleasures, problems and potentials in order to get us away from God. No one has lived such a life more deeply and written of its emptiness more convincingly than Malcolm Muggeridge. He was an outspoken journalist—beyond brash to insulting. Turned off by capitalism, socialism and Nazism, he punched holes in every pretension and belief, yet became wearied by the world’s evil and worried by the emptiness of his life.
In his 60s, he conceded that God was not a bubble popping out of humanity’s self-importance or a feeble projection of our wishes. Having been euphemistically a womanizer, he came to believe in fidelity. Seeing the results of chaos, he finally believed in a divine order behind life. Having experienced humanity setting its own willful standards and directions, he eventually trusted that God offers an abundant life with deep satisfaction to those who believe and obey.
What made the change? Slowly he reexamined Jesus, finding that everything Jesus did and said demonstrated truth far beyond anything merely human. Finally, Muggeridge placed his faith in Jesus the Christ. Although he had respected Jesus, he had underestimated Him for 60 years.
Then Muggeridge dedicated his writing to Christianity and the furtherance of the kingdom of God. One of his most influential books was Jesus Rediscovered. Muggeridge proves that lives changed by Jesus are not just a rumor. Satan’s bonds are strong, but Jesus’ power is greater—power to bring forgiveness and fire hope; power to start us living again no matter what we’ve done; power to put together the pieces of our lives that never had fit before; power to stand us at last in the very presence of God.