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. Mark 3:20-21 “and the crowd came together again, so they could not even eat. When His family heard it, they went out to restrain Him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of His mind.'”

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. Mark 3:22: “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.'” Again, they acknowledged His mighty deeds, but traced the source to Satan. On the principle that “it takes a thief to catch a thief,” they guessed Jesus was demon possessed. Jesus blasted the logic of such absurdity in Mark 3:23-26: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; but his end has come.”

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 Mark 3:27: “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.” Jesus’ ministry plunders Satan’s kingdom, carrying away men and women from the bondage of evil. Every time a sinner repents, every time a person is healed or restored to the faith community, Satan’s kingdom is assaulted and overcome. Any lesser understanding underestimates Jesus.

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.

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