CHURCH MINUTE Online Bible Study Ministry

All for the Glory of God - God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:31) .

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Doing Good Deeds and God’s Will

One time Jesus entered a house, and the crowds began to gather again. Soon He and His disciples could not even find time to eat. When His (Jesus) family heard what was happening, they tried to take Him away. “He is out of His mind,” they said. But the teachers of religious law who had arrived from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by Satan (Beelzebub), the prince of demons. That is where He gets the power to cast out demons.” Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” He asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive. Let Me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger — someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.” Mark 3:20-27 (NLT)

Mark 3:20 and following contain two harsh complaints against Jesus. Members of Jesus’ family said He was “out of His mind” (Mark 3:21), while the religious leaders accused Jesus of being demon-possessed and being filled with an evil (unclean) spirit (Mark 3:21-22). This Scripture section begins once again with crowds of people gathering around Jesus. Jesus was so busy ministering to the needs of the people that He and His disciples could not even find time to eat (Mark 3:20). The Gospel writers noted Jesus was a very popular because He cared and provided for the people (e.g. see Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 3:7; Mark 6:34). Because of Jesus’ popularity with the crowds, Jesus would take time away from the crowds to rest and pray (see Mark 1:35; Mark 6:31; Luke 4:42). Doing God's work is very important, but Jesus recognized rest and prayer were essential to ministering (serving) the people.

When Jesus’ family heard about Jesus not eating and His busyness, they came to take Jesus away with them that He might eat and rest. Jesus’ family thought He was insane, out of His mind, or having a mental breakdown (Mark 3:21). Even more, Jesus’ family wanted to protect Jesus from the large crowds and the opposition from religious authorities (Mark 3:21-22). The Holy Scriptures teaches that Jesus had brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). At first, Jesus’ brothers and sisters did not believe in Him or know His true identity as the Messiah (Christ) and God’s unique Son (John 7:1–5; Mark 1:1). At this point in the Gospels, Jesus’ family simply wanted to protect Him from the growing crowds and increasing religious opposition.

The religious authorities came from Jerusalem because they believed Jesus was possessed with an evil (unclean) spirit (see Matthew 12:24; Luke 11:15). In this Scripture, the religious leaders attributed Jesus’ healing, miracles, and casting out evil spirits to evil (unclean) spirits rather than to God’s Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22; see also Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24). Refusing to believe that Jesus came from God, the religious authorities said Jesus was in league with Satan. The religious authorities accused Jesus of receiving His powers to cast out evil spirits not from God’s Holy Spirit but from evil (unclean) spirits (Mark 3:22). The Holy Scripture makes reference to “Beelzebub” or “Beelzebul.” The terms literally mean “lord of the flies.” In some sources, Beelzebub is like Satan or one of Satan’s leaders. Jesus responded to the religious leaders’ ridiculous accusations with a parable. A parable compares one thing to another. Jesus said: “How can Satan cast out Satan. . . . A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive” (Mark 3:23-26 NLT). In essence, Jesus said the religious leaders’ accusation against Him were illogical. Divided kingdoms fall (Mark 3:24); divided houses fall (Mark 3:25); therefore, Satan fighting against himself would lead to self-destruction (Mark 3:26; see also Matthew 12:25-26; Luke 11:17-18).

“Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only Someone even stronger — Someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.” Mark 3:27 (NLT)

With this statement at Mark 3:27, Jesus described His ministry. Jesus is stronger than all evil as He is the STRONGER MAN. God the Father sent His Son Jesus to defeat evil and release people from the burden and power of sin (Luke 11:21-22; see also Luke 4:18). Jesus’ ministry is not only teaching, preaching, and healing but also casting out evil from people’s lives (Matthew 4:23-25). Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but He is also the Stronger Man by removing evil from people’s lives. Jesus has complete power and authority over evil and evil forces.  The only way for Jesus to establish God’s Kingdom on earth is to remove the kingdom of evil. Jesus’ ministry removes evil and sin from the world (Luke 11:20).

As mentioned at Mark 1:14-15, the Kingdom of God is the rule or reign of God. Jesus is the embodiment of God (see e.g., John 1:1-5, 14, 18; Romans 9:5; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Colossians 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:3-4) and embodies the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:43). In other words, Jesus bears God’s Kingdom in His very Person. Jesus’ most visible manifestation of the Kingdom of God was His casting out of evil (unclean) spirits from people’s lives. So when Jesus cast out evil (unclean) spirits from a person, Jesus was bringing the Kingdom of God or the rule of God into a person’s life. In the Gospels, these evil (unclean) spirits being removed by Jesus often resisted (e.g., see Mark 1:26; Mark 5:7; Mark 9:20) but the rule of God eventually entered through Jesus’ authoritative command. Also, when the Kingdom of God dawns in the presence, the Kingdom always causes conflict by exposing and removing evil. Practically speaking, anytime the Kingdom of God appears in the present there will always be conflict because the rule of God comes with resistance.

Ultimately, Jesus bound the strongman and defeated all evil through His sacrificial death on the Cross at Calvary (e.g., see Romans 5:6; 1 Peter 2:24). When Jesus died for our sins, He destroyed evil (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus’ public ministry removed and continues to remove people from the power of the strongman by healing, preaching and casting out demons (e.g., see Matthew 1:21; Galatians 1:4). Finally, Jesus bound the strongman by giving His life on the Cross as a ransom to save the world from sin (Matthew 20:28; John 1:29; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2). Jesus is the ending of old history by beginning God’s visible rule to earth (2 Corinthians 5:17). God’s Kingdom is here and now but God’s Kingdom appears unexpected forms and in the normal ordinary life. Eventually, all evil will be constrained forever, and evil will no longer roam the earth (Revelation 20:10).

“I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.” He told them this because they were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.” Mark 3:28-30 (NLT)

Then, Jesus gives a statement about the Holy Spirit and the unpardonable sin (Mark 3:28-30). Jesus said all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes (curses) the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven (Mark 3:29). In Mark 3:28-30, Jesus defines the unpardonable sin as crediting to Satan (Beelzebub) Jesus’ authenticating miracles, teaching, and healing done in the power of God’s Holy Spirit (see also Matthew 12:24, 28, 31-32; Luke 12:10). According Jewish scribes, blasphemy involved direct and explicit abuse and misuse of God’s Name (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). As Jesus taught, all sin can and will be forgiven when there is repentance (Mark 3:28; see also Luke 13:3, 5). Even blasphemy, or profaning God’s Name in some way, can be forgiven when God’s forgiveness is sincerely sought (1 John 1:9; see also Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38). However, blaspheming the Holy Spirit has eternal consequences (Luke 12:10). For the religious authorities to allege that Jesus was possessed by an evil spirit was the worst kind of blasphemy (Mark 3:22). Any time a person attributes a work of God through His Holy Spirit to evil or evil spirits, they are blaspheming or cursing the Holy Spirit. Thus, the unpardonable sin is the deliberate refusal to believe that Jesus came from the true and living God, and God’s Holy Spirit dwelt in Jesus (see Hebrews 10:26-31).

The Holy Spirit brings God’s salvation and new life through faith and obedience in Jesus, God’s unique Son (see e.g., John 3:5-8; John 14:15-18; Acts 11:15-18; Galatians 4:4-7; Galatians 5:22-26; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:22-25). Jesus is the “Way, the Truth and the Life and no way can come to the true and living God without faith and obedience in Jesus (John 14:6; see also Acts 4:8-12; Hebrews 10:19-20). Anyone who rejects Jesus and His good works through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, then that person is also rejecting God. Rejecting Jesus – God’s only solution for our sin sickness and eternal life – is the ultimate unpardonable sin. Jesus is the only way to forgiveness, peace and reconciliation with the true and living God (Acts 10:43; Romans 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). To refuse to follow Jesus is to choose to follow evil and eternal damnation (Hebrews 10:26-31).

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers (and sisters) came to see Him. They stood outside and sent word for Him to come out and talk with them. There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and Your brothers are outside asking for You.” Jesus replied, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He looked at those around Him and said, “Look, these are My mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35 (NLT)

Jesus’ mother, brothers, and sisters came to Jesus to take Him home (Mark 3:31; see also Matthew 12:46-50). This verse a replay of Mark 3:20-21. Again, Jesus’ family is concerned for Jesus’ safety and well-being. The crowds are forcing their way to Jesus, and the religious authorities are plotting for ways to kill Him (see, e.g., Mark 3:6; Luke 8:19-21). Despite all the commotion of the crowds and the religious leaders, Jesus made a radical statement about this real family. According to Jesus, His real family is “anyone who does God’s will” (Mark 3:35; see also Matthew 12:50; Luke 8:21; John 15:10, 14). Essentially, Jesus changed the relationship of our earthly family and reinterpreted family as not human bloodline but according to those who accept Jesus as Savior and does God’s will (see also Matthew 7:21). When we trust Jesus as our Savior, God graciously provides us a new birth by His Holy Spirit and we enter into God's family (John 1:11-13; see also Romans 8:12-16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Through our faith and obedience in Jesus, we obtain God’s holy nature.

Some have mistakenly taken Jesus’ statement at Mark 3:31-35 as permission to neglect their families and family obligations. However, Jesus’ statement heightened our responsibility to care for our families and loved ones. Jesus did not abolish the Fifth Commandment to honor, respect, and care for one’s father and mother (see Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16). Instead, Jesus makes the Law a matter of motives and the heart. As faithful followers of Jesus, Jesus’ love compels us to love and care for our families and others in need (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; see also Proverbs 30:17; Ephesian 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 5:8). Through faith in Jesus, God sends the Holy Spirit to fill genuine believers with a new heart, new attitude, and new motive to continue Jesus’ good works and produce good fruit and good deeds (Acts 11:17; Galatians 5:22-23). Since the Day of Pentecost, God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all believers who faithfully trust and obey Jesus to continue Jesus’ good deeds and work (Acts 2:1-4; Acts 10:45; Romans 8:9-11). If anyone wants the Holy Spirit, just ask God and God freely gives His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). However, even the closest human relationship must not stand between or supersede an individual’s primary loyalty to the Lord (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 16:24; Luke 11:23). Membership into God’s spiritual family, evidenced by trust and obedience to Jesus (John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14-16), is always more important than membership in our human families (Mark 10:30). We must all love God first with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 22:37; see also Deuteronomy 6:4-6). Yet membership in God’s family always leads to good deeds and loving others (e.g., see Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; John 15:12; Galatians 6:7-10; James 2:14-21).

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