2019-10-13 – Mark 3.20-35 – A House Divided
Bible Text: Mark 3:20-35 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2019-10-13 – Mark 3.20-35 – A House Divided
(Church Cleanup Day, Birthday Celebration)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Joke: An old mountain man was arrested for stealing a car. He didn’t know anything about the law so he hired a good lawyer who managed to argue his case rather effectively. In fact, the attorney won the case for him. The judge told him he was acquitted. To which the man scratched his head and said to the judge, “Does that mean I get to keep the car?”
Last week in scripture we saw that there are really three different classes of church attenders. There is the crowd, who are basically onlookers or casual attenders. There are the church members, or body of believers, and then there are the ones who are specifically Called-out or Appointed for service to the church and to the Lord. God wants all of us to plug-in to His church and His mission.
In today’s message, we are going to see in scripture that Jesus is dealing with that crowd again. This time in the crowd was also the Jewish Scribes and Jesus’s own family. They were trying to rationalize Jesus’s actions by saying He was possessed and crazy. It is one thing when the crowd comes down on ya, but when your own family comes down on you, it hurts for sure.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 3.20, pew Bibles pg 889 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
I will remind you that in this Gospel of book of Mark, Jesus’s ministry is chronicled while He was still on this Earth. Jesus had presented Himself as being the Savior that the Jewish folk had been waiting for. And He wasn’t just telling them, He was showing His deity by healing many people and exorcizing many demons right before their eyes. The demons themselves were even declaring Jesus’s authority.
The crowds were coming from all parts of the nation now to see and perhaps be healed by this great healer. They followed Jesus from the Synagogue and then they followed Jesus to the seashore. And that takes us to where we are now in the Gospel of Mark starting at chapter 3, verse 20:
20 Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.” 22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
If you recall, last week we read that Jesus went to the sea to get away from the crowds and rest, however they wouldn’t let Him rest. Now this verse says that the crowd wouldn’t even let them eat either. The crowd was convinced that Jesus could make a difference in their lives. They knew that His time with them could probably be short, and they didn’t want to miss out on all of what He had to offer. Now even though Jesus was a young man in His early thirties, and He was both God and Man at the same time, but everyone needs a break and food on occasion. But the crowds again denied Him of that.
I find it also amazing that Jesus did so many miraculous works that crowds of people, perhaps hundreds and thousands were following them because they acknowledged His authority. However the Jewish authorities on the other hand, refused to recognize His majesty. In these verses, Jesus’s family and the Scribes said Jesus was “out of His mind” and “possessed by the Devil”. They refused to believe Jesus was God. They thought He was crazy for what He was doing.
I once heard a story of a man in a mental institution who constantly proclaimed that he was Napoleon. “I am Napoleon, I am Napoleon” he would proclaim. His bunk mate asked him “who told you that you were Napoleon?” To which he said, “God told me”. His roommate then responded, “oh no I didn’t”.
But Jesus’s mind was in fact amazingly astute and pure and perfect. He could articulate like nobody else that have ever lived. He demonstrated profound reason in all the debates recorded in scripture about Him, but yet but the Jewish authorities refused to acknowledge who He really was. Jesus was upsetting their apple cart and frankly they wanted Him gone. In the last chapters we read it says they were even contemplating His murder.
This same account is also written about in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 12, and it gives a few additional details. It says in that house that day, Jesus also healed a man. Verse 22 of Matthew 12 reads: “Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to him. [Jesus] healed him, so that the man could both speak and see. All the crowds were astounded and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” So this crowd of people was acknowledging that this could be the Savior they were waiting for, but just like our verses here in Mark indicate, the Pharisees thought Jesus was instead from Beelzebul or Satan.
Now Beelzebul or Beelzebub was a pagan Philistine god that was worshiped during the Old Testament times. Beelzebub is a term signifying “the lord of flies” “lord of dung” that also became a name of bitter scorn in the mouth of the Pharisees. Beelzebub was frequently used by the Jews as a nickname for satan.
It breaks my heart to see that my beloved Jesus was at this point called crazy by His family, and satan possessed by these authorities. Although He was fully God, He was also fully human, so I got to believe that it hurt His heart to hear it.
And I know it isn’t uncommon to hear your siblings doubt and ridicule, but even Jesus’s mom was with them. So for all those who feel that your family might have treated you wrong, please know that you are not alone, as this account makes clear. Verse 23 continues:
23 So he summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.
I just love Jesus’s parables, as it makes you think and dig deep to derive the true meaning. The title of this message today is A House Divided, and Jesus talks about this issue in a very personable way. He starts by asking the absurd question “How can Satan drive out Satan?” Jesus has been driving out demons, the demons are screaming and acknowledging Jesus themselves. If Jesus was of satan, then He wouldn’t be driving out the demons, He would be instead maybe bringing them in. In this parable, Jesus is declaring that satan is the strong man, and He, being God in the flesh, binds the strong man (satan) then takes power over the demons and casts them out. Jesus is declaring that He has the power of God, in fact that He is God and thus has more power than satan and His demons.
In verse 28, Jesus continues: 28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
These verses addresses what is generally referred to as the unforgivable sin. You might find it strange that Jesus would talk about this most of important of issues right in the middle of where He was defending Himself regarding healing people and giving evidence for who He actually was. Scattered throughout the Gospels are these healings and demons possessions that Jesus was tending to for the purpose of helping the people. But even more than that, for the purposes of showing the people that He was the true Messiah they were waiting for. Anyone who might have witnessed Jesus doing the amazing things that Jesus did, you would think would have to acknowledge that Jesus is God in the flesh. However it is evident, that the Pharisees and Scribes probably felt they were backed into a corner, so that is why they continually tried to defame His character.
The unforgivable sin is a very interesting topic. There are many sins that people might think are unforgivable. I remember serving in a church one time and after I had given a sermon message about sin, a few of the elder members pulled me aside and said they thought that suicide was the unforgivable sin. I had to show them in scripture that was not true. Please hear me and understand, as Christians, we are forgiven of all the sins of man. And we are only forgiven because of Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, not based upon anything we did, can do or say. On the cross, when Jesus said “It is Finished” He meant that the full payment for all the penalties for all the sins that any Christ follower can commit has been paid in full forever. So, in that regard, “the unforgivable sin” is not taking gods name in vein, it is not murder or suicide, it is not cursing god, it is only, and listen to me carefully, it is only denying Jesus Christ as being God Incarnate, who takes away our sin, and refusing His sacrifice on the cross. Amen?
Again, in verse 29 Jesus said, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”. The word Blasphemy means literally to slander or speak falsely about somebody. If you speak falsely about the Holy Spirit then you are effectively denying God. I will ask you to reflect on the Trinity for a moment and answer these questions, who is the Holy Spirit? God right? And who is Jesus? God in the flesh. Jesus said Himself as written in John 10:30, “The Father and I are one”. And in John 6:40 Jesus said, “My Father wants everyone who sees the Son to have faith in him and to have eternal life.”
The Pharisees and Scribes were effectively saying that Jesus is not God and that He is instead filled with demons and doing the work of satan. Despite all the evidence and miracles Jesus performed and the fact that He was perfectly sinless, yet they blaspheme the Holy Spirit, blaspheme Father God and blaspheme God the Son. It is so tragic and sad but unfortunately we see people all around us doing the same today. Oh how it pains me as it pains Jesus too. He said on the cross right before He let go of His spirit, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. And again that is why Jesus gave us His Great Commission, He is sending us out in to the world, to plead with them to consider, so they will not die an eternal death. And we have a lot of work to do, Amen?
31 His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.”
33 He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
It is clear that at this time, Jesus’s Mother, brothers and sisters didn’t yet fully recognize that Jesus was the Messiah. Yes the Angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be pregnant with the Holy Spirit and that He would be the Son of God, but she is still His mother. She didn’t want to see Jesus go down this dangerous path that He was on. Mary was special indeed, but what mother could bare to watch with such turmoil in her heart? They wanted to take Jesus out of there, and perhaps save Him from the turmoil ahead.
Jesus closes this issue down when He said, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”. Who here has not experienced challenges within the family? I would ague that Jesus knew they would later eventually choose Him to be their savior, but at this time, they were a hinderance to His ministry.
In Luke 11:23, Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” The disciples, the apostles and His mission were more important than even His blood family.
The writer of Hebrews verse 2:11 wrote, “For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters”. We are Christ’s family dear church. And for that I am eternally thankful. Christ’s family trumps even our own blood relatives, if they are not believers themselves.
As another testimony of that dynamic, I find it interesting that later Jude and James, the authors of the two epistles, do not even introduce themselves as Jesus’s half-brothers, instead they call themselves slaves of Jesus Christ. They finally recognized Jesus as being their Messiah Savior. I hope you can see that our relationship with Jesus is more important anything else on earth or in heaven.
[SLIDE] In Matthew 10:35 Jesus said, “For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. // Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me. (Mic 7:6)
I hope you can see that our acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of our souls is more important than anything we can do or say or believe. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:12 [SLIDE]
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus”.
All matter of blasphemy can be forgiven except that final blasphemy of rejecting Jesus Christ. Those who accept Jesus as their personal savior therefore cannot commit the “unforgivable sin”, therefore we should not ever have to worry about that. However, on the other hand, those that have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior have a lot to be worried about. And again, that is why Jesus commissioned us to reach out to those people (the world) so that they would carefully consider His gift of eternal grace and mercy expressed by Jesus on the cross at Calvary.
Like that mountain man I spoke about at the start had a good lawyer, we too have a great advocate, but we have to head His heavenly council. Will you do that today?
Please Rise.. Let us now pray together to that end.