Summary: All sins can be forgiven, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The meaning of this is explored with practical application.
This morning we have some absolutely wonderful Scripture in front of us that opens our eyes to spiritual things. I love the Scriptures of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know, isn’t this true: We have difficulties in our lives, we have situations we find are hard to deal with, we have relationships that are strained and we look, and we look, here and there, only to find at the end of the day, the answer is laying right on your coffee table, it had been there all along, the Bible….we just never bothered to look…..Let’s open up our bibles this morning, look at the Scriptures, and see what we have been missing. We are working through the Gospel of Mark and today our Scripture is Mark 3:13-35.
We pick up the story at verse 13 where we see Jesus calling his disciples. Up to this point Jesus has had only four men following him, (fisherman of course – the Alaska representatives of the twelve) now he increases that number to twelve. He chooses twelve to represent the twelve tribes of Israel, which shows us that everyone is invited into the kingdom of God. Notice, Jesus is very Presbyterian up front in his ministry: Jesus calls his disciples. This is clearly a reference to election, Jesus chooses the men – they do not choose Jesus, he calls them and they come to him. They do not consider, weigh their options…they come when called. Second, notice that the people he picks are not people of significance, yet as the Gospel moves along and as the early church starts these men become people of significance – not because of who they are, but because of who Jesus is. Their relationship to Jesus is what gives them their authority. We have already seen that Jesus is the authority in our lives – Spiritual Authority, Jesus is the one who gives it to the disciples, and to us. We here today are significant not because of who we are, or what we do, or what we have accomplished - we are significant because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The closer we get to Jesus, the more significant we become. Do you want significance in your life? Start with Jesus.
Jesus designates them as Apostles – even Judas Iscariot, even Judas. Judas, who betrayed Jesus and then hung himself, committing suicide, could Judas be forgiven? We’ll look at that in a bit. What we see here in verses 16-19 is the full list of his disciples. Names of lists differ a bit in each of the gospels. This is due to the fluidity of some of names. Several forms of a name are interchangeable. One example is Judas son of James, but Thaddaeus seems to be his preferred name. I think of modern names that are interchangeable like Robert, Rob, Bob, Bert. William, Bill, Billy, Will.
Jesus gives them a purpose in verse 14, to preach – we saw earlier that this preaching is a form of confrontation of our sin, and judgment of that sin, and He also gives the disciples power over demonic beings. This a continuation of the breaking in of the kingdom of God which is now starting to squeeze out the kingdom of Satan.
Jesus, doesn’t pick anyone in his extended family to be with Him, or any friends that he grew up with, He picks men who are NOT from His hometown. These twelve men do not have a preconceived idea of who Jesus is – they just believe. His family on the other hand – they think he is crazy.
V 21 – Out of his mind, is another way of saying (In the Hebrew culture of His time), he has an evil spirit. In Jesus time mental instability was generally attributed to demonic activity. Amazing, his family is accusing Jesus of the same kind of thing that the teachers of the law are accusing Jesus of. The charges of the family and of the teachers of the law are parallel and are designed to stop Jesus form continuing his activity. If he is mad, why would anyone listen to him?
His family appears to come to town as they hear Jesus is not eating, meaning that he is not properly taking care of himself. He is an embarrassment to the family so they have come to take him home by force. They mistake the zeal for God as madness.
Along with Jesus’ family, a delegation arrives from Jerusalem. Word of Jesus ministry has reached them. They are sent to make an assessment of Jesus. The delegation is to deem Jesus as authentic or false, the real thing or a magician. They have the power to deem the city as seduced which means a person has tricked the population with his magical abilities and the inhabitants have fallen for him. They are to distinguish between: instigators, apostates and the innocent. These are men of great authority, their word carries a lot of weight, these are not gossip column writers expressing a personal opinion, these men are serious. In other words, they have the ability to label Jesus and his activity as religiously unlawful which would mean that those who went to hear Jesus were acting outside of the Mosaic law, and could suffer consequences.