Summary: This sermon has a quote from Leonard Sweet, and an illustration from WWII. The Pharisees challenges the power of Jesus to heal. To reject the work of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus is to reject Jesus and is unforgivable.
In Jesus Holy Name June 6, 2021 Redeemer
Text: Mark 3:28-29
“The Cosmic War and the Ministry of Jesus”
Today’s Gospel reading brings us to a challenge very early in the ministry of Jesus. Jesus has been baptized by John in the Jordan River and returns to his home town of Capernaum. He attends the Synagogue as was the normal custom. As was often the case He heals an individual. This was a problem for the Pharisees because Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath… Jesus was good a breaking Sabbath rules.
In his book “The Bad Habits of Jesus”, Leonard Sweet noted that Jesus was good at breaking Sabbath rules in order to show that the love of God was more important than rules of religion. The Pharisees were well aware that Jesus had been healing many people. He had healed a paralyzed man after his friends had lowered him through the roof of a house. He had healed a man with leprosy. A man with a withered arm. The crowds where increasing. But Jesus didn’t play by the rules. He broke Sabbath laws.
We human beings love rules. Hence “Robert’s Rules of Order”. Jesus was dangerous to the religious establishment, the Pharisees and Sadducees. He taught the truth about a just but loving heavenly Father. Jesus challenged the rules of a Jewish religion that attempted to “earn” God’s favor. In our own culture we have seen what cancel culture can do to people. The Pharisees were trying everything to constantly discredit Jesus in the public square.
To cause doubt in the public mind the Pharisees claimed that Jesus was healing people by the power of Satan. Jesus asked a simple question. “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself it can not stand, the end has come.” His point: “The casting out demons is a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the very power of God.”
This discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees is a warning against Satan’s lies and God’s ultimate judgment for those who reject the work of the Holy Spirit in the person of His Son, Jesus. This is the unforgiveable sin.
The work and miracles of Jesus cannot be separated from the Holy Spirit. All the work that Jesus does in the Gospels was accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through Him. To reject and blaspheme Jesus, is to reject and blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This is the unforgivable sin.
This event in Capernaum is one episode in the ongoing battle over the control of the earth and God’s chosen people. The cosmic battle between God and Satan, the fallen angel began centuries ago in the Garden of Eden. This cosmic war has just shifted to this Galilean village. God’s creation was perfect. Human beings were created perfect in the image of God with the ability to love, reason and with the gift of free will. Satan hates God and His authority therefore he seeks to destroy God’s creation and God’s chosen people.
The words of Jesus are a warning about rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit and remaining in that total denial all the days of your life. One of the responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin, our broken commandments and warn us about the judgment of God against sin. (John 16:8)
Ambrose (340 – 397 Bishop of Milan), understood the unforgivable sin to be opposing the Spirit’s work. Augustine, (354 – 430) dedicated at least one whole sermon to this topic. He stated that blasphemy isn’t a specific act but a state of enmity and non -repentance lasting unto death. It’s a hardness of heart. A choice Pharoah made when confronted by Moses.
The events and words of Jesus are nice stories but they only make sense when we understand the first few chapters of Genesis. These early chapters in Genesis answer a very crucial question: Where did we come from and how did we get from a perfect world to where we are today?
Somewhere along the way, a massive change has occurred in the universe. Genesis 1 tells us that when God finished with creation, He declared it “very good.” On that day there was no crime, no poverty, no sickness, and no death. There were no broken homes, no latchkey children, no abusive husbands, no drug pushers, no murderers, and no child molesters. What God created was pure, perfect, and pristine in its beauty. The whole earth was a place of peace and tranquility. (quote from Snake Eyes a sermon by Rev. Ken Prichard Genesis 3 March 6, 2008)
Something has gone wrong with that same world. Now, the roses have thorns and we have bombs powerful enough to kill 10 or 20 million people at a time. What happened to the paradise God created? The Bible answers that question with the little word sin. Sin has happened to the world and nothing has been right or worked ever since.