“Our True Family” Mark 3:20-35
Pentecost 3 (B) 6/10/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL
One would expect it from the world and those who are of the world… the “worldly” if you will. But it is another thing when the source of opposition in your life and mine… in what we are doing… what we are seeking to do as Christians… comes from one’s own family… from one’s own flesh and blood.
The truth is, every Christian will experience opposition that will literally hit home… emanate from the home or close to home… from one’s own family… loved ones who are blinded by sin and unbelief… whose understanding of God’s Word is marginal twisted and skewed… those who have been spiritually led astray or have led themselves astray.
To such opposition and resistance, our Lord Jesus can certainly relate. Today’s Gospel text tells us that members of His own family, “went out to seize him… saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’” (Mark 3:21)
Out of His mind in regard to what He was doing, where He was going… making His way from town to town, village to village preaching, teaching and healing… to the point that so many were gathering to see Him… to see Jesus… that many times He and His disciples did not have time to eat… time to rest.
His own family felt the need to put a stop to it… to intervene. We at least know that they were concerned. And still, we have all faced opposition by those who had the best of intentions, though misguided… those who simply did not understand.
But that is not all…
As so often happens, orchestrated by sin and Satan, opposition can grow and be compounded. Others can unknowingly or deliberately “pile on” things, making the situation worse.
The “others” in this case would be the Jewish scribes who come out of the woodwork… who come down from Jerusalem and publicly declare of our Lord, “’He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.’” (Mark 3:22)
Isn’t it interesting that here, Christ is made out to be the evil one… that He is the bad guy… that what He is doing is wrong. It is a charge that is leveled upon us today, my friends, and will even more in the years to come by our culture and society as more and more they see us and all who live the Christian life… all who profess the Christian faith … to be a threat… to be dangerous… to be mean-spirited and unloving.
Our Lord will get it from all sides… catch grief from all sides… face opposition from all sides… from His own family… from the supposed leaders of the faith… and even opposition from His own disciples as we remember how Peter wanted to prevent Jesus from going to the cross.
In short order, Christ addresses the charges leveled by the scribes that He is demon possessed and a puppet of Satan. In short order He shows the absurdity of their accusations and how ridiculous the charge that He is in league with Satan, declaring “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.” (Mark 3:23-26)
Christ follows this up by going to the heart of the matter… of what really is at play regarding both the actions of His family members and that of the scribes… as well as… are you ready for this? Us as well… our actions
And it is a “Spirit issue” for them… for us… for all people… every man, woman, teenager and child. The essential thing being our living in the Spirit, by the Spirit… doing, saying, thinking through the Spirit… with the counsel, wisdom and guidance graciously given to us from on high.
Here, our Lord makes it perfectly clear the dire consequences of resisting the work of the Holy Spirit… of saying no to the Spirit… of rejecting again and again God’s Holy Word and the Sacraments, the very means by which the Holy Spirit works.
To do so means certain death… eternal death and everlasting hell… for this is, as Jesus declares, the unpardonable sin… the resisting of the Spirit… the refusing to come to faith.
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29)
Strong words… a strong message that hits home… but is of no surprise to us because we have come to know by the Spirit that there is no eternal life apart from Jesus Christ and one’s true faith in Him… and that such faith, saving faith, is the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit that brings us to faith and keeps us in the one, true, saving faith.
The Holy Spirit that brings us into Christ’s very body – the Christian Church.
The Holy Spirit that makes us one in Christ… that makes us of one family in Christ… blood relatives! All redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus and now one close-knit family of believers having in common our faith in Christ… having in common our love and devotion to Christ as well as our love and devotion for our brothers and sister in the faith… all who sit with us at the feet of Jesus in humble adoration, eager to learn… to embrace and hold fast to the words of eternal life spoken by our Savior. We read,
“And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Mark 3:34-35)
Behold, our true family. Behold, the head of the family… Christ Jesus… He who suffered and died on the cross to make us family… He who rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is soon coming to take His family… all of us… to be with Him forever in heaven.
Behold… and rejoice in all of this! Amen.