Summary: What is the "unforgivable sin?"
Macho men always want to brag about how strong they are. Some boys on a school playground were bragging. Johnny said, “My dad has a list of all the men he can beat up—and all your dads are on his list!” Later that afternoon a knock came on Johnny’s house and his dad answered the door. A big angry man said, “Are you Johnny’s dad?” He said, “I am.” “Well Johnny told my son said you have a list of men you think you can beat up, and my name is on it.” Johnny’s dad said, “That’s right.” The big guy started rolling up his sleeves and said, “Well, I don’t think you can beat me up. What are you going to do about it?” Johnny’s dad said, “I’ll mark you off my list.”
Guys are always bragging about who’s the strongest. Since 1977 there has been a televised event called “The World’s Strongest Man.” Most of the winners have come from Finland, Iceland, and Eastern Europe. These guys are required to perform amazing feats of strength like pulling a Boeing 747 with their teeth. These aren’t body-builders; they are bulked up dudes. One of the competitors from Iceland, who is nicknamed Thor, stands 6’9” and weighs 435 pounds. No six-pack abs on these guys, they go for the full keg!
So who do you think was the strongest man in the Bible? Are you thinking of the book of Judges and the guy with long hair who could kill a lion with his bare hands? Samson was pretty strong, but after he got a haircut in the devil’s barbershop, he lost his strength.
In our passage today, Jesus is going to talk about a strong man; then He’s going to mention a stronger man. Hopefully, by the time we finish you’ll know the identity of the “The World’s Strongest Man.”
Mark 3:20-30. “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’ And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.’ So Jesus called 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 opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit.’”
Jesus faced criticism from his biological family. They said He was crazy and they came to rescue Him before He could make a bigger fool of Himself. But the Pharisees leveled a much stronger accusation against Him. They couldn’t deny the reality of the miracles He was performing, so they claimed He performed those miracles by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. I’ll identify Beelzebub a little later. But immediately we that it’s a dangerous thing for religious people to say God’s activity actually came from the devil.
When I was in college, I traveled around leading weekend youth revivals. I would play my 12-string guitar and lead songs before I preached. The songs I sang were pretty radical: They weren’t in the hymnal. They were radical songs like, “Get all excited, go tell everybody that Jesus Christ is Lord.” I can remember being in one church in North Alabama, and as I started leading the first song of the evening, an elderly man stood up, obviously displeased. He shook his head and stomped out into the foyer. He wasn’t hard to miss him because there were only about 60 people there that night. He didn’t come back when I started preaching. But we had a fellowship after the service, and he walked over to me. His face was red and he was angry. I don’t remember his exact words but he said something like, “I don’t like you coming into MY church and playing the devil’s rock and roll music. And we don’t allow guitars in our church. It’s the devil’s instrument.” I guess I was doubly devilish because I played a twelve-string guitar! I wanted to say something like, “Well King David played on a stringed instrument.” But I think I just said, “Sir, I’m sorry you were offended.” That angry man was sincere in his criticism, but he was doing the same thing those Pharisees did.