And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Wow, it didn't take long for those in charge to get up in arms about Jesus, did it? In the first chapter we see everyone in the synagogues marveling . . . but word preceded him, and now people are starting to feel like he's dangerous.
And he was. Because he was challenging their carefully constructed religion and asking them to have faith. Two things that can go hand in hand but too often don't. I love this section--because strict adherents to the Law (and the traditions that had sprung from it) considered healing to be illegal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew that it was never, ever wrong to do good. And to not do good when you're able and willing is in fact wrong. And is it lawful to do evil on the Sabbath?
7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. 11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
This is in many ways like chapter 1, where Jesus silenced the demons. Because thought he was starting to stir things up, the religious leaders would have done more than plot had he come right out and declared himself the Messiah. They would have seized him then and there, before he'd had the chance to do the work he knew he needed to do.
But the people's hearts were yearning and eager. They felt that tug toward him, even if they didn't fully understand why. (Smiling at Joanne)
13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16 Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”; 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.
20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”
23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. 27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
I had always taken this "casting out demons by the ruler of the demons" bit at face-value. But as I was talking it through with my husband the other day, he pointed out something that made total sense. That they were saying, basically, "It's a trick."
Like when Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh and performed the signs . . . and his magicians replicated them. How? Well, we tend to say, "They did tricks. Or even if it was some black kind of magic, it wasn't as REAL as the miraculous. That's how Moses's staff/snake ate theirs."
This could well be what the scribes are saying. Not that He really is calling on the power of Satan to cast out a demon, but that it's just a trick that he did it at all--that he's as bad as they, and their demons are just playing along.
Jesus, of course, cuts to the real issue.
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— 30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Here we have it--the Unpardonable Sin. So much discussion has risen about this. Can you accidentally commit this sin? What if you want to repent of it??
But this is something unique. This is when you're looking right into the face of Spirit and calling it Satan. That's not something you do by mistake. That's not something you do if you have a heart with any softness in it. That's not something you do if you'd ever even want to be forgiven. Because this is when you stand there and declare, knowing who you face, that you are His enemy.
31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
Question 3 ~ Mark 3
How do you interpret the sin can't be forgiven? Do you think one can do it accidentally?