Ian Wheeler spoke Sunday morning on Mark 3:20-35. He started the morning talking about a time he went to a water park with his family. He vividly explained that while growing up in Georgia his family was almost never near the water. But once a year his family would get to go on vacation, usually, their destination would be the nearest beach but this year his parents had purchased two-day water park passes near the ocean for his entire family. Yet this trip he had been eagerly anticipating was cut short when his younger brother had an accident in the bathroom, and the whole family had to leave early. Ian describes how angry he was with his brother at the time, their special family vacation had been cut short on his account. Yet Ian closes the story by saying it didn’t take him long to forgive his brother, and they remain very close to this day. This is an image of the unconditional love that we strive to have present in our families. However, in this passage of scripture, we see Jesus’ family respond to his growing following not out of love, but out of disbelief.
20Then 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.”
The crowd around Jesus at this point is dense. There are so many people that they did not even have room to eat. Can you imagine a crowd of this size? Jesus’ popularity is growing the crowds coming to see him are increasing. But when his own family heard of this crowd gathered to see him, they went out to stop him. They believe that Jesus is crazy.
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.”
The Scribes, however, respond even worse than Jesus’ family. They once again are questioning Jesus. They questioned Jesus after he healed the paralytic (Mark 2:6) and again when he ate with tax collectors (Mark 2:16). The Scribes are looking for an opportunity to silence Jesus, to remove him from the public sphere, in short, they want him killed. We know this from earlier in the chapter in Mark 3:6.
6At this, the Pharisees went out and plotted with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
The Scribes call Jesus Beelzebub, another name for Satan. The Scribes cannot explain Jesus’ power and they can no longer refuse to acknowledge it’s existence. So they credit his power to Satan. If they can convince the people of this it will better their chances of having Jesus killed.
23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
Jesus calls the scribes out again as he did before in (Mark 2:8) when they questioned him about healing a paralytic. Jesus is using simple logic to show how ridiculous the claims that he is Satan truly are. How could Satan be against himself? How could any of us be divided within ourselves?
27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
Again, Jesus is driving his point home the He is not Satan but has defeated Satan. In this illustration, Satan is the strong man. Yet, Jesus had bound him. Now Jesus is plundering his house. What is the plunder? Here, the plunder is the demons.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
The first question we are faced with is, does an unforgivable sin exist? The answer is yes, we have to acknowledge this because we see it here in scripture. The second question we must ask is, can we commit the unforgivable sin? The answer is no. This sin was for a specific time in history. It was committed by people who saw the full revelation of God through the physical embodiment of Jesus and accredited God’s power to Satan. We no longer have Jesus as a human on this Earth with us, and for this reason, we can no longer commit this very specific sin. Further, we know from this passage that other blasphemes will be forgiven. But let’s not miss the main point here, “all sins will be forgiven”. So though an unforgivable sin existed we can hold on to the promise that all of our sins will be forgiven, from the first part of this verse. How can Jesus forgive all of our sins? He did this through his perfect life on Earth. Being both fully man and fully God, Jesus was crucified. He died though he was sinless, taking then the sin of the world upon himself, taking punishment and bearing it as his own. On the third day, he rose, proving his divinity, and defeating the power of death.
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus’ family arrives and are looking for him. Jesus takes this mundane moment to make a profound statement. He is pointing to the family of God. His blood relation doesn’t save his family. His message from the beginning Mark 1:15 repent and believe the Gospel that is how we are accepted in the kingdom. And when we do this we become the family of Christ.
In this passage, we are left with three outcomes for Jesus. He is either a Liar, a Lunatic, or he is Lord. The Scribes call him a Liar. His family called him a Lunatic. All that’s left is Lord. What will you choose to call him?