THE UNPARDONABLE SIN
As we have seen in our studies, Jesus came to bring good news, to give people life, to bring them joy in their relationship with God if they would turn to Him and receive the forgiveness of sins that is only found in Christ. On the other hand, the religious leaders looked to a works based righteousness that was found in the keeping of the Law or the attempt to keep the Law. And that was not good news because no man could keep the whole Law. The Law was never meant to save you but to convict men of sin. Thus, in their attempt to keep the Law they could not find life nor joy in their relationship with God. And that bothered them as they saw the disciples of Jesus having a great time.
Now, after Jesus picks His 12 men who would carry on the work after He was gone, He preaches His famous Sermon on the Mount, which is covered in Matthew chapters 5-7. Mark does not go into this, for his primary audience were those Christians in Rome who were being persecuted for their faith, some even being put to death. So Mark presents to them Jesus, who, under pressure still served the Lord. He was trying to encourage them.
After the Sermon on the Mount, Mark picks up the story as Jesus returns to Capernaum. And that is where we will begin in Mark chapter 3, beginning in verse 20.
1. The way verse 20 is structured in the Greek, it speaks of the crowds coming one right after another. Multitudes of people coming to see Jesus, but why? Because they needed physical healing and word quickly spread as others were healed by Jesus. And now all those who had disease, sickness, all kinds of problems, came to see Jesus to be healed, they were looking for a miracle. And Jesus was so busy, there was not time to even eat. They just kept coming and coming.
2. Now "His own people" speaks of family, but not necessarily close family members like brothers and sisters. The relatives of Jesus came, not for a healing, but to physically grab Jesus and bring Him home. Why did they want to do that? Because they thought Jesus lost His mind. That He didnt have both oars in the water or the elevator did not go up to the top floor. So they came to rescue Him from this madness He was involved in.
And I think they did this out of love. Dont you think it would have been easier to just leave Him alone? Of course it would have been. But because they loved Him, they tried to help Him. And Im sure He didnt look to healthy at this point in His life, He didnt even have time to eat. Those 12 men He picked to help Him in the work He was doing were not the brightest, they were not the cream of the crop. Then the religious leaders wanted Him dead. The people were just using Him to heal their physical diseases. Jesus came to save that which was lost, but, for the most part they were not interested in that aspect. And so His family comes to bring Him home, forcibly, before something bad happens to Him.
3. Now it doesnt look like they had much success in bringing Jesus home, because Jesus is still ministering, and later on, beginning in verse 31, we see His brothers and mother come to get Him. Maybe they thought they would have more of an influence on Him and He would go home with them. But Jesus did not lose control. He knew exactly what He was doing. And He was focused upon the mission He was on. Nothing was going to stop Him.
1. The religious leaders came only for one reason, to find fault with Jesus so they could put a stop to His popularity. They wanted to put Him out of business. What the religious leaders said regarding Jesus was based upon Jesus healing a demon-possessed, blind and mute man. But instead of rejoicing over what was done, they were angry and tried to find fault in His actions. So they traveled the 80 or so miles from Jerusalem to get Jesus.
2. As Jesus healed this man, listen to the response of the crowds found in Matthew 12:23, which speaks of this event. We read, "And all the multitudes were amazed and said, Could this be the Son of David?" Matthew 12:23. The people realized that only God could do something like this so they asked if Jesus was the Messiah? Do you see how the miracles that Jesus performed were to authenticate His ministry! And the people picked up on that. They knew what the Scriptures said of the Messiah, and now they are seeing it with their own eyes, which lead them to their question, "Could this be the Son of David?"
3. Now the religious leaders couldnt deny what Jesus was doing. Everyone could clearly see that the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak, and-so-on. There was a supernatural power that was taking place. So what did these religious leaders say about the work of Jesus? "Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." Matthew 12:24.
Notice, they are saying that this is not of God, but of the devil. Beelzebub, "lord of the flies" was a Philistine deity who represented the devil in the minds of these religious leaders. You see, they couldnt deny what Jesus was doing, so they attributed His work to the devil doing it through Him. And this was not a one time statement by these men, but something they were repeating over and over again, trying to sway the people, brainwash them into believing them.
4. Now it seems that they were saying these things about Jesus away from Him so He couldnt hear them. But Matthew tells us that Jesus knew their thoughts, and He calls them over to see if their thinking is logical or illogical. If it makes sense or if it makes no sense at all. And Jesus is going to use a parable, or an illustration to make His point. And He is going to ask them 5 hypothetical questions or make 5 hypothetical points to see if they are right or wrong. And the whole idea is they needed to think these things through. They needed to come to their own conclusions on this issue. Now they could either be open to the truth or close their eyes to it and remain in their dead, self-righteous condition. Lets look at these 5 statements a little closer and see what Jesus was saying to them.
A. HOW CAN SATAN CAST OUT SATAN? MARK 3:23
Think about that for a minute. Does that make any sense? Of course not. That would be self-defeating on Satans part. So Jesus, casting out the demons from this man did not do it by the power of Satan, but by the power of God! That is the only thing that makes sense.
B. IF A KINGDOM IS DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF, THAT KINGDOM CANNOT STAND MARK 3:24
A nation or kingdom that is at war against itself will eventually fall apart, it cant stand. Again, the works of Jesus can not be ascribed to Satan but only to God. It would not make sense!
C. AND IF A HOUSE IS DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF, THAT HOUSE CANNOT STAND MARK 3:25
A family that is at war with each other will be divided, weakened, and cant stand strong. Again, Satan isnt going to fight with his own forces, that would be self-defeating.
D. AND IF SATAN HAS RISEN UP AGAINST HIMSELF, AND IS DIVIDED, HE CANNOT STAND, BUT HAS AN END MARK 3:26
Again, that would make no sense at all if Satan fought against himself, because he would defeat himself!
E. AND IF I CAST OUT DEMONS BY BEELZEBUB, BY WHOM DO YOUR SONS CAST THEM OUT? MATTHEW 12:27
In Israel there were these Jewish exorcists who tried to cast demons out of people, with little success. We read of some of these guys in Acts 19:13-16. We read "Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
See, they didnt have too much success! But the point that Jesus is making is this, if your own people are casting out demons, is that also by the power of the devil, as they were accusing Jesus? Jesus did nail these guys.
1. The strong man is none other than Satan. His house is this world. And he places man in bondage. A hopeless situation until the Deliverer comes, Jesus Christ! Satan is a created being, Jesus is God, thus, He is stronger than Satan and thus, can bind him. And the reality is, the strongman has been bound, as Jesus tied him up when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary paying the penalty for our sins. And He was telling these religious leaders that He is the one who can deliver them. As Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
2. You would think after all Jesus said, they would have something to say. But they didnt. They were silent! How could they argue with what Jesus was saying? They couldnt! You see, the truth was right there before them and they refused to see it, they rejected it. And because of the hardness of their hearts, listen to what Jesus is going to say to them beginning in verse 28.
1. First of all, what is the unpardonable sin? It is not lying, stealing, cheating, or even murder. You see, all those sins can be forgiven. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a process of denying the works of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is testifying of Jesus. In John 15:26 we read "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me."
Thus, if you continually reject the Holy Spirits call for you to turn to Jesus, there comes a point where your heart becomes so hard that you are eternally separated from Him. There is no salvation for you, you have past the point of no return.
Turn to John chapter 16, and lets begin reading in verse 7. It says "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." John 16:7-8. Jesus is going to send them the Holy Spirit who will convince people they are sinful, that there is a right standard that God accepts and if you reject that righteousness, you will endure His judgment.
As we continue on in verse 9 of John chapter 16 we read "of sin, because they do not believe in Me." The only sin that will condemn you to death is unbelief in Jesus. Rejecting the calling of the Holy Spirit to receive Jesus into your life.
Then Jesus says in verse 10 of John chapter 16, "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more." The righteousness of Christ is the only standard God will accept. You can not go before Him in your own righteousness, it is like filthy rags, and it will not be accepted. As Paul said in II Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
And in John 16:11 Jesus says "of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." Satan has already been defeated. You dont have to follow in his footsteps. But if you reject Christ, you will die in your sins. And you cant blame God for that, it was your choice, you rejected the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing you to Christ! God will give you what you want, eternally separated from Him, and you will have an eternity to think about the mistake you made in rejecting the gift of life found in Jesus!
2. These religious leaders were very close to committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, for they had hardened their hearts so much to the things of God they could no longer see. In fact, in John chapter 12 it seems that they passed the point of no return, they could no longer be saved. We read beginning in verse 37, "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe..." John 12:37-39a. A very sad place for anyone to be in!
1. As Jesus is inside teaching, the place is packed, and remember He refused to be dragged away by His distant relatives, so here comes His mother and brothers. Im sure they were hoping they would be able to convince Him to come home so they could help Him get over these delusions. His family didnt recognize who Jesus was until after His death and resurrection. Then, His half brother James becomes the senior pastor in Jerusalem. His other half brother Jude, wrote the book of Jude. You see, at this point they thought He was nuts, and they were trying to rescue Him from all of this.
2. Now as Jesus is teaching, word gets back to Him that His mother and brothers are outside. Families were very close back then, and the people must have thought He would stop and go out and greet them. But that is not what Jesus did. He looks around at all the people and says they are His family. Im sure His family, after being hurt by this, thought He had just jumped off the deep end. He was too far gone. What was Jesus talking about?
He was speaking of the bound that occurs in the family of God, which is stronger than family relations. As Jesus said in John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
3. How are we adopted or placed into the family of God? Mark 3:35 tells us, "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother." Obedience is a confirmation of your faith. You have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and thus, your actions reflect that relationship with Him.
4. A very tough ministry to say the least. And yet Jesus stayed focused on the work that was before Him. He never forced anyone to believe but presented the good news and authenticated it with miracles so that the people could chose for themselves to follow Him or reject Him. They couldnt deny the work He as doing, but they could suppress the truth to believe a lie. Tragically that is what many did, and what many continue to do today. And for those that do, they will die in their sins. But, as Psalm 95:6-11 says, "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways. So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest." Open your life up to Him!