Have you ever been falsely accused of something? Ever been accused of doing or representing the exact opposite of what you were actually doing?
Reading today’s passage from Mark 3, it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the accusations that Jesus’ critics bring forward: that Jesus was in league with the devil! Most of us would be flabbergasted by such an audacious falsehood, but as usual, Jesus is ready with a reply.
Then [Jesus] went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, “He’s out of His mind.”
The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul in Him!” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!”
So He summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rebels against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished!
“On the other hand, no one can enter a strong man’s house and rob his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will rob his house. I assure you: People will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they may blaspheme. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Then His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him and told Him, “Look, Your mother, Your brothers, and Your sisters are outside asking for You.”
He replied to them, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking about at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:20-35 (HCSB)
Questions to Consider
- Although the scribes’ accusation was malicious, there’s a reasonable question to be found buried beneath their evil intentions: when confronted by something that seems supernatural, miraculous, or otherwise divine, how should we determine whether it’s an act of God or a trick of the Enemy?
- The eternal sin” mentioned by Jesus in this passage has been the subject of much debate among Christians. What do you think Jesus is referring to when he mentions blasphemy “against the Holy Spirit?” How does this sin differ from all others?
- Why do you think Jesus’ family was determined to “restrain him?” Was Jesus rejecting his human family with his remarks at the end of this passage?
- What does it mean to you to be the “brother and sister and mother” of the Son of God?