Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The unforgivable sin

2.24.2015 Tuesday of Lent 1                        Mark 3:20-35 The unforgivable sin

The unforgivable sin is blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. The scribes accuse Jesus of being possessed by and being an instrument of the devil. His family considers Him crazy. Both family and religious leaders misunderstand Jesus. To accuse Jesus of having an evil spirit is to commit the unpardonable sin. It is a sin of failing to see in Jesus the presence of the Holy Spirit who gives Him power and authority to cast out demons. Those who do God’s will have a spirit akin to His.

God sets the solitary in families. Jesus had two families. The one, based on physical relationships, did not understand nor appreciate Him. His mother, brothers, and sisters thought that he wass out of His mind and came to take Him home. They were embarrassed and ashamed of Him. Jesus’ other family has a spiritual relationship. He is son and brother to all who do the will of God. Only if we do God’s will can we claim that Jesus is our elder brother.

While His family thought He was mentally off balance, the religious leaders claimed Jesus was “possessed” of the devil. As such they argued He was able to cast our demons. Jesus answered this argument by saying that if this were so, Satan’s house would be divided with internal conflict. In that case, his evil kingdom could not stand.[2] 

This is a broken world. We are living outside of Eden. Evil powers still exist. We need to discern and distinguish between what is of God and what is of the Devil. The marks of the influence of the Devil are easy to recognize. He works with the strange notion that people consider what is good to be evil and what is evil, good. The Devi’s end goal is despair and death. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in this world”. By ourselves, we cannot cope. But God is at work to restore, redeem and save through the work of His Son. He breached the wall of Satan’s kingdom when He healed, raised the dead, and drove out demons. He breaks Satan’s power. He is victorious over sin, death, and the devil through His death and glorious resurrection.

Grant to your people, Lord, grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh ad the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only True God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.[3]

[1] Image by Ed Rioja © Higher Things
[2] Lectionary Preaching Workbook, Series B, pp. 192-193, © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima OH

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