Slandering the Spirit

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Mark

Mark 3:20-35, “Slandering the Spirit”

Have you ever been slandered?  Most likely, all of us have been spoken badly about by someone in the past, but slander is in a different category altogether.  When someone is slandered, the language is defamatory & legal action can be pursued if someone’s reputation has been irreparably damaged.  Of course, sometimes the damage is done & nothing can be done to fix it, no matter what the courts may or may not decide.

What the scribes do in our text is engage in slander.  They’ve seen Jesus at work, and they can’t bear to think of the conclusion that Jesus actually IS the Son of God – so they decide to slander Him instead.  They needed some excuse not to believe in Jesus (and to get other people not to believe in Jesus), and this is what they grasped onto.  In the process, they were going down a road that would bring eternal consequences, and Jesus warned them of such.

If that was the scribes, Jesus’ own family didn’t do much better.  They may not have slandered Him, but they seemed to have questioned Jesus’ sanity.  They weren’t sure what was going on, and they tried to pull Him away from the ministry.

In the end, it was the disciples and strangers that were desperately looking to Jesus in faith.  These were the people Jesus considered His true family.

What is your reaction to Jesus: belief or blasphemy?  Simple faith or slander?

Mark 3:20–35
20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

  1. We had left Jesus with His disciples.  Jesus had been on a mountain all night in prayer, and He called His disciples to Himself.  From a seemingly larger group, Jesus specifically named 12 to be His apostles (His “sent ones”) – including Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Him to death.  From there, they left the mountain and went into a house (3:19).  Presumably all 12 apostles were with Jesus at this time, though perhaps not all who believed in Jesus as disciples…it’s unlikely all of them would have been able to fit into one house together.
  2. At this point, we’re not sure how much time has passed, but their “alone time” has ended, and the crowds have gathered again.  Crowds always had a tendency of congregating around Jesus, and this one was particularly large.  Remember that when Jesus taught by the Sea of Galilee, He had arranged a version of crowd control in that a boat was kept at the ready, so when the multitude got too large, He would be able to step into the boat and teach from offshore.  This prevented Him (and anyone else) from being crushed by the amount of people who were pressing in.  But this time, they aren’t at the seashore, and there’s no boat at the ready.  Now we see what Jesus had made plans to avoid: so many people pressing in that movement was impossible.  Mark says that there were so many “that they could not so much as eat bread.”  IOW – they couldn’t even move their hands to their mouths to eat lunch.  That’s a LOT of people!
  3. There are all kinds of reactions people have to Jesus (some of which we’ll see in our text) – but surely a good one is this: desperation to be with Him.  No doubt there were many in the crowds who didn’t know the truth of Who Jesus is, and surely a large percentage (perhaps even a majority) did not have any kind of saving faith.  But even a small percentage out of this crowd who truly sought Jesus in faith is good!  These people were desperate to be around Jesus – to hear Jesus – and to experience whatever it was that Jesus was doing.  That’s a good thing!
    1. If the multitude was a mix of people of faith & people without faith – what does it say that this entire group of people were so desperate to be around Jesus, and yet many people today who actively claim to love Jesus & to have been saved by Him seem apathetic to Him?  It’s as if they’re grateful for Jesus’ promise of salvation, but other than that, they could take Him or leave Him.  It doesn’t matter to them whether or not they gather together with other Christians…it’s just another church service (rather than an active encounter with the Living God).  It doesn’t matter if they engage in worship…it’s just a bunch of singing (rather than glorifying the Creator God with our hearts and minds).  Where is the desperation of the Church to be with the Lord God who saved us?

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.”

  1. Of course not everyone was excited to be around Jesus and to see what He was doing.  Some were disturbed by the attention Jesus was attracting.  Including “His own people.”  The obvious question is: who are these people who are described as Jesus’ “own people”?  Although some translations describe this as “family” (ESV, HCSB, NIV), that is an interpretation rather than a direct translation.  However, it IS an informed interpretation.  Beginning in vs. 31, there’s no doubt that Jesus’ blood relatives were among those who tried to seize Jesus (“lay hold”) – the words translated “His own people” seems to have been an idiom sometimes used to refer to families, and His family was certainly involved here, even if the group was a bit broader of a crowd from Nazareth.
  2. What was the problem?  They thought He was insane.  His own friends & family from Nazareth went to where He was teaching in order to apprehend Jesus, and drag Him back to Nazareth “for they said, “He is out of His mind.””  It’s possible that His friends and family were so concerned for Jesus when they heard of the crowds and how much Jesus was working, that they were fearful He was endangering Himself.  However, the phrase typically refers to insanity.  Either way, the conclusion isn’t good.  Either Jesus’ family believed that He didn’t know what He was doing to Himself, or they believed He was nuts.  Consider that for a moment: fallen creation believed the Creator was crazy.  So lost is mankind in our sin that humans couldn’t even recognize the difference between sanity & insanity.  We’re the ones that have everything turned upside down!  We’re the ones that believe that sin is good for us, and have so given ourselves over to the things of darkness that people cannot recognize right from wrong, yet people thought that Jesus was the crazy one.
    1. We’re not specifically told if Mary held this opinion as well, but there is no doubt that she was among them (vss. 31-32).  If anyone knew the truth about Jesus, it was Mary (Joseph, not being mentioned, might have been dead by this point).  Yet either the family that came didn’t believe Mary’s testimony of Jesus, or she was having doubts of her own. 
  3. This wasn’t the first time people from Nazareth had a problem with Jesus.  Early on in Jesus’ ministry when He claimed that Isaiah’s Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Him, people from His hometown attempted to kill Him. (Lk 4:29-30)  They couldn’t believe that this Son of the local carpenter had the gall to claim the things that He did about Himself.  How could this Guy be the One upon whom the hope of Israel rested?  He had grown up with the rest of them – they went to synagogue with Him – for Him to be saying such things about Himself would have been considered blasphemous and crazy.
    1. And if this had been anyone else, they would have been right.  It IS crazy for someone to claim that they are the Messiah, the Son of God.  Someone who believes himself to be God is delusional (at best), and is in dire need of mental help.  All of that is true if the person isn’t Jesus.  But when Jesus claimed these things about Himself, He was speaking the truth.  And He proved He was speaking the truth through His supernatural miracles…that was the whole point of the miracles.  It wasn’t to entertain people with a show – it wasn’t to give everyone an emotional “high” – it was to demonstrate to people the power, authority, and glory of God, as revealed in Jesus.  The miracles of God authenticated Jesus as the Son of God, and thus authenticated all of Jesus’ claims about Himself.
    2. Today, the same is still true.  When people have doubts about Jesus, all they need do is look at His miracles…and one miracle in particular: the resurrection.  The historical, factual resurrection of Jesus proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is exactly Who Jesus claimed to be.  Without it, we would have good reason to doubt either Jesus’ truthfulness or Jesus’ sanity – but with it, we cannot doubt Jesus’ deity.
  4. Because Jesus’ miracles authenticated His claims, it was the miracles that people attacked next. See vs. 22…

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”

  1. There’s a bit of context here that seems to have been left unsaid by Mark.  Matthew & Luke both affirm that Jesus was casting out a demon at the time of this accusation. Matthew 12:22–23, "(22) Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. (23) And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”" [] With this display of God-given power, people did what they were supposed to do: look at Jesus as the Messiah.  This Man had authority over even the spiritual realms – surely He was endued with the kind of authority that would only be expected of the Son of David/King of Israel.  His own family didn’t believe Jesus through the signs that He was doing, but it seemed evident to the strangers that surrounded Him.  Once the religious leaders saw what was going on here, they knew they needed to do something.
  2. Notice who came: “the scribes who came down from Jerusalem.”  Matthew tells us that it was Pharisees who brought up the accusation; Luke doesn’t identify the accusers of Jesus.  Which was it?  Both/all.  The Pharisees were constantly working against Jesus, as were the scribes.  Apparently there were scribes that had made the trip from Jerusalem with much of the rest of the crowd (3:8), and they had joined with the Pharisees in the same accusation.  As they grumbled, it would have been very easy for the rumor to spread through the skeptics in the crowd.  Regarding the scribes themselves, Mark makes the point of identifying them as having come from Jerusalem – most likely an indication of their authority.  These were the bigwigs – the scholars from the prestigious centers in Jerusalem.  They had come to check out Jesus for themselves, and they apparently weren’t thrilled with what they saw.
    1. They ought to have been overjoyed at the fulfillment of prophecy right before their eyes!  More than most Jews (even the Pharisees), the scribes were the true religious scholars of Israel.  They would have known the Scriptures backwards & forwards, and they would have been well familiar with the prophecies surrounding the Messiah.  They should have known the time was at hand for the Messiah to appear (according to the 70-week prophecy of Daniel) – they would have recognized the authority & message of the most important prophet in the history of Israel (John the Baptist) – and now here was Jesus right before their eyes!  He was doing miracles, and showing Himself stronger than Satan in every respect.  This ought to have been reason for them to rejoice!  Instead…they scoffed and made excuses.
    2. People still do this today.  They hear the wonderful news of the gospel message, how they can be freely forgiven by God – they understand the sinfulness of their sin when confronted by the Scripture and the witness of the Holy Spirit – their heart is even cut to the quick realizing their need for Christ…and then they scoff, harden their heart, and turn away.  They see Who Jesus is, but they aren’t willing to believe upon Him as Lord.  As long as they remain the masters of their own lives, they believe they’re happy & better off…when in reality, they are doomed.  But they make excuses to try to make themselves feel better. … Stop the excuses!  If you see Jesus as He is, then you need to respond to Him!  Surrender your life to Jesus in faith, believing upon Him as Lord.  The only way to receive His forgiveness is to actually act upon what God has revealed to be true.
  3. The scribes and the Pharisees came up with their own excuse.  They found a way to implant doubt in the minds of the people in the crowd.  Strategically, they didn’t really have too many other options.  After all, Jesus had a constant ministry of casting out demons.  What He did was repeatedly witnessed by others & simply could not be denied.  The work He did was too public & too evident.  People were being healed, and demons were being cast out.  This wasn’t an illusion or some sort of sleight-of-hand; it was reality.  The religious leaders needed a way to discredit Jesus in light of this reality.  They had been plotting together for some time to destroy Jesus (3:6), and now they thought they had their chance.  They couldn’t deny what was going on, but they could start a whispering campaign.  Why address Jesus directly, when they could simply slander His miraculous work.  Jesus’ power was undeniable, so they decided to cast doubts on the source of His power.
  4. Basically, they accused Jesus with being in league with Satan. “Beelzebub” seems to have been a derogatory name that the Jews used for the false god Baal that had been worshipped in the past by the surrounding Gentiles (and sometimes by the Jews themselves!), which loosely translated means “Lord of the flies.”  However, there’s no doubt they weren’t referring to the false imaginary gods of the pagans, but to the chief of demons, Satan. “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”  IOW, it wasn’t by the power of God that Jesus was casting out demons from the people; it was a gigantic ruse by the Devil, the ruler of the demonic realm.  They accused Jesus of being a tool by Satan to trick the people.  If Satan was the one giving Jesus His power, then people were putting their trust in a demonic ruse, and were being truly deceived.
  5. Question: how exactly can Jesus refute that?  After all, the scribes and Pharisees were accusing Jesus of spiritual deception and treason – something that couldn’t be witnessed or verified by anyone on the outside.  The “truly spiritually enlightened” scholars of Israel could see the deception, but it might not be so obvious to the rest of the crowd.  They were just doing their best to warn the people away from something truly dangerous.  It would appear that the scribes & Pharisees had a winning hand here.  How can a slanderous charge be refuted when there was no visible way of proving it?  This is a he said/he said scenario…who would the people trust: this upstart prophet, or the religious leaders that had always guided them?  What was needed was a word of wisdom from God…and that is exactly what God the Son is going to provide for them.
    1. There is a spiritual gift identified in the NT as a “word of wisdom.” (1 Cor 12:8)  It is an answer given by the Holy Spirit at just the right time in just the right way.  Something that demonstrates the wisdom of God in a way that simply cannot be matched by the wisdom and arguments of man.  Sometimes all our arguments are just that: arguments.  We go round & round with no way of finding the right solution to a problem.  What’s needed is supernatural wisdom…and sometimes the Holy Spirit gives exactly that.  It’s a gift that Christians probably ought to pray for more often! 

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.

  1. Mark doesn’t record many “parables” of Jesus, but he does record a few…two of which are here as Jesus gives a word of wisdom.  Jesus may not be able to physically show the source of His authority (after all, He is God – He inherently has authority!), but He can definitely show them the foolishness of their thinking.
  2. Parable #1: division.  Division is an indication of trouble; not success.  Demons were being cast out – not in a grand deception or show, but in reality.  How could Satan do this to himself?  When a kingdom wars against itself, we don’t begin to think of it as successful; it’s a civil war!  A household that is divided is labeled as dysfunctional; not a success story.  When division is sown, destruction is the result.  That can be seen in every day examples.
    1. BTW – this is one reason division is so harmful among Christians.  When Christians start tearing one another down, we’re actually working against ourselves.  We’re part of the body of Christ.  To engage in division with one another is like two hands stabbing at each other, or punching oneself in the gut.  Division is always destructive.

26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.

  1. What is true of earthly houses and earthly kingdoms is also true of spiritual houses & kingdoms.  Satan is indeed a ruler – he is the ruler of demons.  He is the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2), yet like any other created being, he is limited.  Satan does not have infinite resources and unlimited power.  He has to work with what he has in order to do what he wants to do (which is to steal, kill, and destroy – Jn 10:10).  How could Satan release people from the grip of his demons, and still expect his kingdom to expand?  He’d be committing civil war against himself, and he would bring down his own kingdom.  The devil might be a lot of things, but he’s certainly smarter than that.  When he has someone in his grip, he doesn’t easily let go. 
  2. When Jesus cast out the demons, there was no doubt that Jesus was tearing down the kingdom of Satan.  He truly released people from the power of the devil.  They were truly free.  This isn’t something Satan would do, even in deception.  To use a common phrase today, it would be cutting off his nose to spite his face.  He would be bringing “an end” to himself.  To be sure, Satan DOES have an end, and we know what it is when we read the end of the book of Revelation.  However, he doesn’t bring it about himself.  When Satan comes to his final end and is thrown into the lake of fire in hell, it’s because Jesus has thrown him there; not because he jumped in of his own accord.

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.

  1. Parable #2: plundering the strong man.  Keep in mind that a parable is not an allegory.  A parable is a generally illustration used to make a point.  When Jesus gives the parable of plundering, He’s using a scenario more easily attributed to villains than heroes.  After all, we don’t typically think of Jesus engaging in forcible entry, assault, and armed robbery – all of which He describes here!  We need to look at the point Jesus is making.  Since He has been accused of being possessed by Satan & using demonic power, Jesus gives them a scenario of evil…simply adopting the reasoning.  If Jesus was, in fact, doing what He did by the power of the devil, then Jesus would be going to war against an agent of the devil, and plundering what had already belonged to the devil.  He’d be overpowering the one who supposedly empowered Him…and that’s impossible.  The only way Jesus could overpower the devil is if Jesus had more power than the devil…and He does!
  2. Jesus is infinitely more powerful than the devil!  Over time, our culture has bought into this false notion that God & Satan are somehow equally matched, they go to war against one another, and we don’t really know who’s going to win.  Wrong!  A thousand times, wrong!  God is stronger than the devil!  God is the Creator, and Satan is just another created being.  To be sure, Satan is a powerful created being – more powerful than humans, with much under his control – but he is limited (by definition) because he has been created by God.  Jesus can plunder the devil because Jesus IS God.  Cults would have us believe that Jesus & Satan are brothers, but that’s not at all what the Bible shows.  Satan is infinitely less than Jesus because Jesus is none other than the Creator God.  Jesus is stronger than the “strong man,” and He has absolutely no problem plundering his house.
    1. When Jesus frees someone from the grip of Satan, they are truly free!  When the Holy Spirit indwells a person at salvation, Satan’s demons cannot come back in & re-possess the person because God is stronger.  Satan cannot plunder what belongs to God, but God can certainly plunder what belongs to Satan!

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”—

  1. The conclusion: the scribes were stepping into something they could not possibly understand.  Their accusation against Jesus was horrific & if they persisted in this, it would bring eternal consequences that they were not even considering.  Jesus solemnly warns them about a sin so bad, that there is no forgiveness from God…and that was the very sin that the scribes were in danger of committing.
  2. There’s actually good news & bad news here.  1st, the good news!  “All sins” can be forgiven!  ALL sins…every single one!  There are so many people that hesitate asking Jesus for forgiveness because they fear that they’ve gone too far, and surely God would never forgive someone like them.  There are so many Christians who carry around burdens of guilt for years on end, knowing in their head that Jesus has promised forgiveness, but not really believing it in their hearts.  After all (they think), there was that one sin that was so heinous – so bad – that although Jesus has forgiven everything else, surely He didn’t forgive that.  Not so!  Those who come to Jesus in faith are forgiven ALL.  Every sin our hands have committed – every blasphemy our tongue has uttered – every single thing that we had done in rebellion against God “will be forgiven” by God when we place our faith in Jesus Christ!  That’s the glorious good news that Jesus brings.  The Son of God has come among us to reconcile mankind back to God.  We have peace with God through Jesus Christ because Jesus grants us true & complete forgiveness.  When He shed His blood on the cross for us, every sin was covered – our forgiveness is complete & total!
  3. The bad news?  There is one sin that “never has forgiveness.”  When someone comes to a final conclusion that blasphemes the Holy Spirit, that is a sin that lasts into eternity.  What is “blasphemy”?  The word we have in English is just the transliteration from the Greek.  Blasphemy = slander / abusive speech.  If someone was to speak lies about another person today, that would be “slandering” their reputation.  That’s the idea here with this sin.  Blasphemy can sometimes be thought of as disrespect, but what Jesus describes is far more than disrespect; it’s abusive slander.  Saying that that the Spirit-filled Son of God had Satan was slander against the Spirit of God.  There was no doubt that what Jesus did was done by the power of the One True Almighty God…and the scribes and the Pharisees just labeled that God as “Beelzebub.”  Jesus didn’t come directly out and say that they had just committed the unpardonable sin, but He definitely warns them that is exactly what they were in danger of doing!
  4. For this, there is no forgiveness.  This person is “subject to eternal condemnation” – or according to other manuscripts, “guilty of an eternal sin.” (Different Greek words; exact same result.)  How can this be?  Jesus just said that “all sins [and] blasphemies” will be forgiven – how can this sin remain unforgiven?  It comes down to the nature of the sin.  Think about it: a person cannot be forgiven by God if he/she doesn’t even recognize the God who forgives.  How can a person receive the forgiveness of Jesus if he believes that Jesus is an agent of Satan?  They can’t be forgiven because they never come to faith!  If someone cannot believe the truth about God, and that person comes to the final slanderous conclusion that Jesus is NOT God, but rather filled with the devil instead of the Holy Spirit, that is a conclusion that will forever keep them outside of the forgiveness of God.

30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

  1. Please don’t miss this last part.  That’s the key to the rest of the text of vss. 28-29.  The Bible makes it absolutely clear why Jesus warned the scribes & Pharisees of the unpardonable sin: they accused Jesus of having a demon.  They attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to the work of Satan.  The scribes and Pharisees had seen the work of God with their own eyes.  They knew that God was at work; they just didn’t want to admit it.  They knew that Jesus had seemingly unlimited power to heal and to cast out demons (remember they actually tested how far He was willing to go with His power on a Sabbath day); they just didn’t like what Jesus taught that accompanied all of it.  They didn’t likely believe their own accusation; they were just saying anything they could in their attempt to discredit Jesus.  What they didn’t realize is that they were stepping into territory that would leave them forever condemned if they were not careful.
  2. So many people worry if they have committed the unpardonable sin.  They worry over the words that they have rashly spoken in the past, wondering if God could ever truly forgive them.  If someone is looking to the Lord Jesus for forgiveness, then by definition, they haven’t committed this sin because they aren’t looking to Him as a demonically-possessed agent of Satan.  THAT was the reason Jesus gave them the warning.  Doubts are not the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  Flippant words from an atheist saying “I don’t believe” isn’t blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  (After all, if someone doesn’t believe in demons, how can he/she accuse Jesus of being demonic?)  Religious leaders are more in danger of walking into this sort of blasphemy than non-believers when they attribute the things of God to works of the devil – and in fact, that’s exactly who Jesus was warning!
  3. If you’re looking to Jesus as the Son of God, the One who was perfectly filled with the Holy Spirit – if you are someone who believes the testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus – then on the authority of the word of God, you can know you are not engaging in the unpardonable sin.
    1. Which means that God’s forgiveness is available for every other sin you HAVE committed.  Believe upon Jesus today & receive the forgiveness He offers!

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.”

  1. With the slanderous accusation of the scribes & Pharisees answered, the attention now goes back to the friends and family who first came to Jesus back in vss. 20-21.  They had come from Nazareth, and they were (presumably) standing on the outside of the house, unable to get to Jesus.  Too many people were there, and they could squeeze inside to take Him away.  So they start calling for Him, and the crowd on the inside of the house pass the news to Jesus that His family had come.
  2. Note who came: “His brothers and His mother.”  This is very plain in the Greek – no qualifications on it of any sort.  There’s absolutely no reason to believe the text doesn’t mean what it clearly states.  Contrary to those who teach the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Bible plainly teaches that Jesus had brothers.  His brothers did not always have faith – which is understandable.  After all, not too many of us would believe the sibling we grew up with might actually be divine!  They had their own doubts, even making fun of Jesus’ claims along the way (Jn 7:1-5).  However, Jesus’ death and resurrection changed everything to the point that at least two of Jesus’ brothers came to faith, provided leadership for the Church, and even wrote letters included in our New Testament (James, Jude).
  3. Remember the reason they had come: they believed Jesus was out of His mind.  Again, whether they believed Jesus was insane, or just endangering Himself is not made clear – but it’s obvious they were trying to stop Jesus in the middle of His ministry.  Here Jesus was, teaching the word of God, casting out demons – and His own family comes to take Him away from the midst of it.  Even His own mother Mary is in on this. 
    1. Have you ever been abandoned by your family for the sake of Christ?  When you came to faith in Jesus, did your own friends and family think you were crazy?  You’re not alone…it even happened with Jesus!

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.”

  1. Can you imagine the scene?  So many people had crowded around Jesus earlier that they didn’t have room to eat bread.  Perhaps the 12 disciples encircled Jesus to give Him a little breathing room to teach, but Jesus is actively engaged with the people all around Him.  When the word comes to Him about His family outside, one would think He would drop all He was doing & dutifully go outside to them.  Or perhaps that He would bring them in to a place of honor among the rest.  Jesus does neither.  He doesn’t even recognize them as His family, but rather recognizes those who are around Him – He recognizes those who have faith.
  2. At that moment, not even Jesus’ own family had faith in what He was doing.  They were trying to pull Him away from the ministry to which God the Father had called Him, and Jesus knew better than to obey.  Even if His mother & brothers had the best of intentions, their desire to stop Jesus from what He was doing had the same basic effect as what Satan had tempted Jesus to do in the wilderness: give up what He was doing & leave the work of God.  Jesus wasn’t about to do it.  What His family was asking Him to do was not borne out of faith…there wasn’t a hint of faith in any of it, no matter what they might have otherwise claimed to believe!  But the people around Jesus were hanging on His every word.  They were the ones acting upon the things Jesus was saying.  They were His true family – His “brother & sister & mother.”
  3. Those who have active faith have been brought into a saving relationship with Jesus…but it’s better than that.  We have been made family with Jesus!  We don’t have blood kinship, but we have something better: the declaration of God and the spirit of adoption that we are the joint-heirs & siblings of Christ!  John 1:12–13, "(12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: (13) who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." []  When we believed (and by believing upon Jesus, we are doing “the will of God”), at that instant we were made God’s own children…we were brought into the family of Jesus.  Amazing!  Think of who you were – think of what you deserved – what we have actually received in Christ is beyond description!  This is grace of the highest magnitude!

Conclusion:
Some were desperate to be around Jesus, and had active living faith in Him & His word.  Others (particularly His own family) had doubts about Jesus, fearful that He might be losing His mind.  The scribes & the Pharisees went so far as to suggest that Jesus was demonic.  Jesus caused a variety of reactions among the people…what’s yours?

Doubts are natural.  Good people have doubts – those are to be expected from time to time.  The fact that even Mary seemed to have some doubts ought to be encouraging to the rest of us.  She had seen more than most, and even then the things of life seemed to have gotten in the way.  What isn’t natural is division and slander.  If anything is demonic, it’s that.  Satan is the father of lies, and if he can get people to lie about testimony of the Holy Spirit regarding Jesus, then things probably can’t get too much better from his point of view.

Don’t believe the lies!  Don’t give into the deception!  What Jesus does is far more powerful than Satan, because Jesus is infinitely more powerful than Satan.  He is God Himself, indwelt and empowered by God the Holy Spirit, and the work He does speaks for itself.  To look at the miraculous freeing work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus, and then label it an act of Satan is slanderous to the highest extent.

The good news is that those who do not believe the slander can see the truth.  When we do see Jesus for who He is, we can have forgiveness for every sin.  EVERY sin!  Not a single thing is left out by Jesus – not a single sin is too great for Him to handle.  He will cover every sin, and make us part of His own family.

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