Mark 3:20-35: The Family of God
April 9, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Things are becoming sufficiently extreme, such that Jesus’ family comes to take charge of the situation. The crowds were so insistent that they could not eat, and people were beginning to say that he had lost his marbles, was out of his mind, and so the family comes to take over.
Meanwhile, they are not the only ones concerned. The scribes say that he is demon possessed: by the prince of demons, he casts out demons. This is a serious charge, for not only does it ascribe his work as satanic, but it cleverly insinuates that even whatever good he does is only proof of the demonic in him.
This approach has often been used since of Christian leaders. Their work for good and impact for good can only be explained by some cunning malevolent plan that must lie behind it all. The best answer is still the answer that Jesus gave: a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. In other words, if Satan is casting out Satan, then there must be some sort of internal warfare among the demons. It makes no sense. And it makes no sense for great good to be done by the demon possessed.
In fact, Jesus goes on to teach, in order to cast out a demon, or have an impact for good in an evil world, one must not only not be working for the evil against which you are fighting, but also be able to overpower such evil. You must first “bind the strong man.”
Jesus then turns to those who are accusing him of being demon possessed and shows them just how serious their situation is. This “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” in context, is not simply saying something, or a curse word, against the Spirit. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the deliberate, set opposition to God’s work to such an extreme that you attribute that work as demonic. Those who are piously concerned, therefore, about whether they have or have not committed the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” are plainly evidencing that they have not.
Far from deliberately opposing the work of the Spirit to such an extreme that they attribute that work in a set and deliberate way to the work of the devil, they are tenderly concerned in their conscience that they might be filled with the Spirit and please the Spirit. They want to follow Jesus—not like the scribes who wanted to cast Jesus into the lap of being a devil or possessed by demons.
Eventually his mother and brothers turn up. Once again Jesus uses this as an object lesson, a teaching moment. Who are his mothers and brothers? Those who do the will of God.
Let us then follow Jesus, obey God, and we are in the family of God and have a closer relationship with Jesus, just like his mother or brother. It is an extraordinary privilege and joy to be in the family of God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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