In Jesus’ Words: One Unforgivable Sin (Mark 3:22-30)

Jesus only mentions one sin that will not be forgiven – blasphemy against the Spirit.

Jesus warns, “He who is not with Me is against Me. Any sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matthew 12:30-31

This is a very specific statement from Jesus, so it is important, even life-critical, that we understand exactly what this blasphemy is and what it is not.  In this story about Jesus, the Jewish leaders or Pharisees are accusing him of being an evil spirit or the devil himself.  This is one of the biggest insults a person could say to Jesus, but insults alone are not blasphemy.  Insults or curses that are said in ignorance or unbelief against Jesus or the Spirit are not blasphemy.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a deliberate rejection from those who know Jesus’ claims are true, yet reject Him anyway.

These Pharisees could not deny Jesus’ claims and miracles to be true so they said He was from an evil spirit instead.  Their hearts were hardened, and they rejected Jesus even when they had the fullest possible revelation of who he was.  The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ and makes His truth known to us.  These Pharisees had that ultimate truth but rejected it, and that is why it was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (truth).

Rejection in ignorance or unbelief that later gives way to repentance is not blasphemy.

Saul of Tarsus’ conversion is a good example of this.  He was a murderer of Christians, and a hater of Jesus.  His sins could not get much worse than that.  But when the Holy Spirit (Jesus in Spirit) was revealed to him on the road to Damascus, he did not deny or reject it.  He embraced the truth, even when he knew what that meant in facing his past sins, and what it would cost him in changing his ways.  Paul was forgiven.

Blasphemy of the Spirit is a rejection of God and His truth, when you know exactly who God is.
It is the ultimate and final rejection of God.
 

~ Jesus mentions one unforgivable sin ~
Mark 3:22-30

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul in Him!” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!”

So Jesus summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rebels against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished!

“On the other hand, no one can enter a strong man’s house and rob his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will rob his house. I assure you: People will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they may blaspheme. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

In Jesus’ Words: Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-3:6)

God made the Sabbath for mankind, not the other way around. This next story of Jesus shows another example of Jesus’ deity as the Son of God, because here Jesus demonstrates authority even over the Sabbath. But before we get into the story, what does it mean to be the Son of God? This is where there can be much confusion. “Son of” means to be in the direct line of, or in this case, God. God does this by manifesting Himself into the human image of Jesus. Though it may sound strange at first, the Old Testament is filled with stories of God walking among the people, and other spiritual beings and angels not like us. It is actually right in line with God’s character and the rest of the Bible. And as the Son of God, Jesus was also the first to call God, “Father”, a concept that was not used prior to Jesus. It is just one more example of His deity.

~ Jesus Questioned About Working on the Sabbath ~
Mark 2:23 – 3:6

On the Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and His disciples began to make their way picking some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry— how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the sacred bread—which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests—and also gave some to his companions?” Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Now Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a paralyzed hand. In order to accuse Him, they were watching Him closely to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath. He told the man with the paralyzed hand, “Stand before us.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. After looking around at them with anger and sorrow at the hardness of their hearts, He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

There are three similar-sounding titles for Jesus: “Son of God”, “Son of Man”, and “Son of David”. What is the difference and why three titles?

Like God, just one title for Jesus cannot cover all his attributes, but these are also three specific claims:
Son of God – in the line of God. God manifested Himself in the image of Jesus. God in the flesh.
Son of Man – only Jesus calls Himself this title. It refers to his humanity, and his ability to identify with our suffering and struggles.
Son of David – in the line of David. Jesus is directly descended from the genealogy of King David through Mary’s blood line, and his earthly father, Joseph, carries the legal line from tribe of Judah. This fulfills the prophecy from the early Israelites and King David’s time.

In Jesus’ Words: Why are you not fasting? (Mark 2:18-22)

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees required fasting twice a week for orthodox Judaism, even though the Old Testament law prescribed only one fast on the Day of Atonement. But Jesus was not doing this and some people questioned why not. Jesus went about teaching and healing and dining with people. Jesus brought life and joy with Him, not mourning.

Even today, our faith in Jesus should bring us joy, comfort us, give us hope. There may be times for fasting, but I believe they are rare. Unless it is done for all the right reasons and in private, then one is just merely going through the motions of a good diet or cleansing. Jesus came to replace the old, external traditions of rituals and self-righteousness, to give us new, internal traditions of repentance and grace! It is freeing, and it is joy! Don’t pour the new wine into old wineskins!

~ Jesus Questioned About Fasting ~
Mark 2:18-22

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

In Jesus’ Words: Follow Me (Mark 2:13-17)

Do you remember that feeling when you got picked for the team in school? It probably made you feel happy or relieved. Or maybe you remember not getting picked, and it seemed to make your whole day feel even worse.  Everyone wants to belong somewhere, to know they have worth. We want to feel, that even though we might not be very good or have made some stupid mistakes, someone believes in us anyway, and likes the potential they see in us. Well, that’s exactly what Jesus did, and how he made people feel.

Jesus was known for dining with sinners and tax collectors. Tax collectors were in a category all by themselves and considered the biggest sinners of all. It would have been scandalous in those days to be seen with them, much less dine at their house. Now, Jesus was not hanging out with them to call out their sins or to prove his point, which he certainly had the authority to do. He was there for one thing: Follow Me! Jesus saw their potential over the bad. He was giving them a chance. They had been picked for the team!

~ The Call of Matthew, Dining with Sinners ~
Mark 2:13-17

Then Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to Him, and He taught them. Then, moving on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.

While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew went on to follow Jesus the rest of his life, giving up his rich lifestyle. He wrote a book about Jesus’s life which became one of the four gospels. He went on to minister to Persia, Macedonia, Syria and Ethiopia to bring the good news to kings and sinners, and he never regretted that day he was picked or his decision to follow.

In Jesus’ Words: We have never seen anything like this! (Mark 2:1-12)

Which is easier – to forgive someone’s sins, or to heal their physical body?  We have medical doctors, medicine and hospitals that can do great things today to heal the body, but we still only have one person who has ever claimed to be able to forgive your sins for eternity, and that is Jesus.  No other person, no matter what religion or belief, has ever even attempted to make that claim.  And that one single claim is the difference, and it’s a big difference.  It’s worth checking out the person who made this claim.

Jesus had no agenda of his own, and did not seek fame on his own.  Everything he did pointed to God, whom He called His Father.  The crowds that followed Him said it all – “We have never seen anything like this!”

I have to insert a little humor here as you read this story.  Imagine Jesus speaking to the crowds, people hanging on his every word, some serious perhaps, and all of a sudden these four guys start cutting into the roof and lowering this guy down into the room. People gasp!  But Jesus stays calm, and maybe he even smiles and laughs a little to himself as he sees what lengths these guys have gone.  Jesus was not put off.  I like to think that Jesus, who was also fully human, takes delight in our persistence and creativity of our faith to see Him.  He enjoyed people.

 The Son of Man Forgives and Heals
Mark 2: 1-12

When Jesus entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the message to them. Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying.

Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the scribes were sitting there, thinking to themselves: “Why does He speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Right away Jesus understood in His spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Would you climb through the roof of a crowded room if you knew Jesus could heal you?