Questions for Littles: Why couldn’t they eat bread in v20? Who go out to get Jesus in v21? Why did they? In v22, what do the Jerusalem scribes say is the reason Jesus can cast out demons? Whom does Jesus call to Himself in v23? What does He ask them? In v27, what does Jesus say that He is doing to Satan and Satan’s kingdom? According to v28, what sins can be forgiven? But according to v29, what can never be had by someone while he is blaspheming against the Holy Spirit? What does v30 explain is an example of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Who finally arrive in v31? And what does the crowd tell Jesus in v32? But what does Jesus ask them in v33? And what answer does Jesus give in v34? How does Jesus say we can identify His family in v35?In the gospel reading this week, Scripture challenged us about our response to Christ.
What Jesus was doing was so amazing that it demanded an explanation. It demanded a response. No one during His time was neutral. And it is a disease in our churches that people can sit in them week after week and remain neutral.
So far, no one in the gospel of Mark had concluded that He is God. There were multitudes who believed that He was great and were listening to His teaching. We know that they were listening, because He pretty much says that about them in vv33-35. Then there was His family. They were saying that Jesus was out of His mind (v21).
We shouldn’t pass over that too easily. Despite the lack of understanding of brain physiology, first century Jews understood the demonic component of mental illness better than many today, something ironically supported by the fact that Jesus was casting demons out of so many. Jesus’ family wasn’t responding as hatefully as the scribes, but they did draw a similar conclusion.
As for the scribes, we know already their hatred for Christ in their connection to the Pharisees who were already trying to destroy Him (v6). But their public slander of Jesus became the opportunity to highlight the fact that forgiveness comes through Christ alone.
As long as someone is saying of Christ’s Spirit that He is anyone less than God, that person cannot be forgiven. Note the present tense verbs in v29. What is wonderful, however, is that v28 is made possible by the fact that Jesus is God, and His Spirit is God. Since Jesus is God, when we reject all other ideas about Christ and instead cling to Him as our God who saved us at the cross, we are forgiven each and every sin that we have ever committed or ever will commit. Hallelujah!
Finally, when Jesus’ biological family shows up, they become an opportunity for Jesus to point out how we can identify members of His eternal family. They do the will of God. They obey the Father, the Head of the household. Once you are forgiven by clinging to Christ, He begins working out the family resemblance in you!
Perhaps you worry that you have committed “the unforgiveable sin.” There’s no such thing for those who are clinging to Christ! Two of those brothers who stood outside that door committing it ended up coming to faith in Christ and even writing books of the Bible (cf. James 1:1, Jude v1). They were forgiven when they clung to Christ as their God and Savior. Cling to Him, and you are forgiven too!
Who is Jesus’s Spirit? When you are worried that you are not clinging to Christ, what is the solution?