We read in Mark 3:21, “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is BESIDE HIMSELF.”  If you read previously in this chapter, you will see the Lord had healed a man with a withered hand.  Afterwards, the Lord withdrew with His disciples and a great crowd followed them.  The Lord instructed His disciples that they all should leave the area and go on a ship because He was being thronged by great crowds from which He had healed many and drove out demons from those possessed.  The Lord then went into a mountain and called His disciples unto Himself.  There, He ordained His twelve apostles and went into a house.  Once again, the great crowd came upon Him.  The Lord and His apostles could not even eat because of the size of the crowd.

In our verse, the phrase ‘his friends’ can also be translated as ‘his relatives’, so this could possibly refer to the Lord’s earthly family who did not believe on Him. (Read John 7:5).  Regardless of who these people actually were, they considered the Lord’s actions to be awkward and strange.  To see one who was so ‘religious’, one who lived His whole life to preach salvation to others, one who did not even have His own home because He traveled everywhere telling people of the love of God…they believed His behavior was that of one who was ‘beside himself.”  The Lord’s unconventional lifestyle, His willingness to minister tirelessly to others seemed to be the action of someone who had lost his mind, someone who was irrational, or someone who was insane!  Yes, these people thought the Lord was crazy and wanted to remove Him from the scene. 

Let’s compare this to Acts 26:24, “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art BESIDE THYSELF; much learning DOTH MAKE THEE MAD.”  Here, I strongly encourage you to read Acts, chapters 23-26 to understand the situation the Apostle Paul was in so that we find him here defending himself in the presence of King Agrippa and Festus, a Roman procurator.  Before these esteemed men, Paul recounted his past activities…how he had persecuted and jailed Christians.  He spoke of his miraculous salvation and how he now spent his time serving the Lord and speaking of Him to others.  It was Festus that declared that Paul was ‘beside himself’.  He went on to say that because Paul now had so much knowledge of the scriptures and of Christ, that he was ‘mad’ or insane.  Paul’s response to Festus was that “I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” (Verse 25.)  Although to the unbelieving world, Paul seemed to be insane, he was in fact, speaking truth and sanity. 

What a lesson we have here for believers in Christ!  When you give your lives over to the Lord to serve Him in every capacity DO NOT expect the world to accept you as sane and intelligent.  NO, they will label you as being insane or BESIDE YOURSELF.  The unsaved world just cannot understand how the Lord changes us from being one who pursues happiness and wealth in the world to one who gives his life over to be used of the Lord however He may choose to use us. 

May we determine to serve the Lord no matter how the world reacts.  May we live as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:13-14, “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us…”  Let us be sure that it is the love of Christ that constrains, or compels’ us to live for Him no matter how the world reacts.  (CC)  (512.2)