And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:22-30)
These spiritual reflections are not written to see how many readers they garner. They are written because, after study and reflection, I am moved to share my beliefs about how the word of God speaks to us. If it His will, some will be moved by these words.
This morning was chilling for me.
For the first time in more than four decades of ministry, the words of Jesus Christ in today’s scripture rode over me and startled me. They startled me because I see in them a message that is alarming not only for the U.S but for any country in which division has become a way of life.
In today’s scripture. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus’ healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander.
Jesus used the illustration of a strong man whose house and possessions were kept secure. How could such a person be overtaken and robbed of his goods except by someone who is stronger than himself?
Satan, who is our foe and the arch-enemy of God, is stronger than us. Unless we are clothed in God’s strength, we cannot withstand Satan with our own human strength. What does Satan wish to take from us – our faith and confidence in God and our readiness to follow God’s commandments. Satan can only have power or dominion over us if we listen to his lies and succumb to his will which is contrary to the will of God.
Jesus then issues a prophetic warning:” but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin””
What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and why can’t it be forgiven?
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, in general, is calling something evil good or good evil. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and one blasphemes against him whenever one deliberately or with vincible ignorance calls a lie the truth or a truth the lie
The reason why blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable is not because God doesn’t want to forgive but because the sinner won’t open up to receive mercy, either because they don’t believe they need it, or because they don’t believe God will forgive, or because they don’t want to come to receive it in the way God has intended.
When someone is convinced that evil is good and a lie is true, the person will not think he or she is in need of forgiveness. When someone is calling Jesus evil and possessed, that person is generally not going to come to ask Jesus for mercy. When someone believes that gossiping is a charitable information service for inquiring minds that want to know, that producing smut is an exemplary public service promoting the right of free speech, they’re generally not going to repent.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not necessarily a curse against the third Person of the Trinity but can be a hard-hearted refusal to be opened by him to the truth of things.
In the United States today, there are too many who have fallen into the trap of believing that they can use words of division, of rancor, of anger and, yes, in some cases can use threats of violence and death.
Let me quickly add this. There are circumstances in our lives where it is proper to disagree with respect. When we meet a person of a different faith tradition, it is proper for us to disagree about the role of Jesus. We hold Jesus to be fully human and fully divine. Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do not. We disagree about important spiritual truths. But even as we disagree, we should still respect people of other traditions because they are people of faith.
Many citizens do not agree with the other’s political beliefs. We hold radically different visions of the role of government, the definition of injustice, and the kind of country we think America should be. But as we disagree with one another, it is important not to demonize others. We should offer them respect.
The blaspheme lies in our attack against one another. The blaspheme lies in promoting untruths. The blaspheme lies in distorting the very words of God in an attempt to justify our political belief.
Unless we are clothed in God’s strength, we cannot withstand Satan with our own human strength. What does Satan wish to take from us – our faith and confidence in God and our readiness to follow God’s commandments. Satan can only have power or dominion over us if we listen to his lies and succumb to his will which is contrary to the will of God.
Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or opposed to it. The words of God do not belong to a political party or a religious denomination or a self-absorbed, self-righteous person.
The words of God are those of peace not anger, of inclusion not exclusion, of respect not anger, the words of God encourage us to follow only path – His path.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. Be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.”
If we disobey God’s word, we open the door to the power of sin and Satan’s influence in our lives. If we want to live in true freedom from the power of sin and Satan, then our “house” – our mind and heart and whatever we allow to control our appetites and desires – must be occupied and ruled by Jesus Christ where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and to his Word?