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Summary: A damning indictment against stubborn unbelief, and a shocking redefining of 'family'...

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AN INDOOR-OUTDOOR SPIRITUAL BARBEQUE

Mark 3:20-35

Belief crowds in towards Jesus, oblivious of walls (oblivious of the roof on one occasion), in the hope of a healing touch (Mark 3:20).

Unbelief stands outside, questioning Jesus’ sanity.

Some well-meaning acquaintances of Jesus wanted to “lay hold” of Him, seize Him and take Him away, and put a stop to all this nonsense (Mark 3:21).

Jesus’ family wanted an audience with Him, but were not at this stage content to press in with the crowds, but sent a messenger to call Him outside (Mark 3:31).

Religious unbelief is inside, but accuses Jesus of being in league with the devil (Mark 3:22). Jesus answered this accusation in two parables, and levelled a damning indictment against stubborn unbelief. Then He redefined ‘family.’

Religion, on this occasion, was represented by some scribes who had come down from Jerusalem. They were guardians of the sacred scrolls, and interpreters of their contents. No doubt they were concerned about this country Rabbi, who was causing such a commotion.

‘What right had He?’ they reasoned. ‘He did not come from any of our schools. He must be casting out devils in league with the devils!’

“How can Satan cast out Satan?” asked Jesus in His first little parable. It is quite evident that a kingdom or a house that rises up against itself will ultimately fall. So if Satan is divided against himself, then he is at his end (Mark 3:23-26).

The second little parable looks at things from another angle. Jesus illustrates Satan as a strong man guarding his house. Now a stronger than he has come, and is in process of binding Satan, and spoiling his house (Mark 3:27).

Jesus’ damning indictment against stubborn unbelief has a preface which must not be overlooked (Mark 3:28-29). All sins and blasphemies are capable of forgiveness, He says. Pause and ponder such grace!

The accuser is more concerned with the exception, and troubles poor souls with worries about whether they might have committed the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. The answer to such concerns is that - in the context of this text - the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost appears to be stubborn, relentless, unbelief.

The scribes had put themselves in an impossible situation (Mark 3:30). As long as they looked on the work of the Holy Spirit - manifested in the life of Jesus - as a work of the devil, there was no hope for them. Unbelieving religious bullies, who view every new movement within Christianity as ‘the work of the devil’ are also putting themselves in a dangerous position.

Back on the outside, Jesus’ family were still waiting. The messenger arrived with their summons. “Your mother and brothers are outside, looking for you” (Mark 3:31-32).

Jesus’ redefining of ‘family’ is still shocking to this very day (Mark 3:33-35). This is put in the strongest possible terms of comparison elsewhere (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26).

Our relationship to Jesus must transcend all other relationships.


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