Mark 3:20-35 20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 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.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Have you ever known a child very well and then for whatever reason you did not see them again for many years- perhaps not until they were an adult? Did you recognize them? Often we are surprised as they have changed so much from what we remember. But we usually can pick out mannerisms and facial features that we know about them from before. Just think about the struggle that Jesus’ brothers and sisters and mother went through after Jesus’s baptism when He was baptized with the Holy Spirit and entered into public ministry with great power. Jesus declared the Word of God with authority and performed all kinds of signs and wonders authenticating His Words proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God, who came to save mankind from their sins. For thirty years He would have appeared like any other person but then suddenly He was revealed as the Saviour of all mankind. There were hints of who He really was that He revealed as He grew into manhood but nobody understood Him- not even His own earthly family, and not even His earthly mother Mary.
The amazing reality of anyone who has been born again by the Spirit of God is that they will recognize Jesus Christ for who He really is. In spite of the fact that nobody really understood what Jesus was about to do until after He rose from the dead, the true follower of God who was waiting for the Christ to come recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. They did not yet fully understand but they still recognized Him and followed Him. They were drawn to Jesus and they loved Him. They were waiting for Him and knew Him even though there was so much about Him that they did not yet understand.
Herein lies the parallel that Jesus brings out in comparing his earthly family to the spiritual family of God. Of anyone on this earth, we should recognize our parents and our siblings above anyone else. God designed the family so that we will be raised by our father and mother alongside our brothers and sisters. We know them best and are to love them all and to be loved by them. Sadly this is not the case in many broken families but this is God’s desire and original intent. There is no way that we should not be able to recognize anyone in our family.
But Jesus’ earthly brothers and sisters and mother wanted to seize Jesus and said, “He is out of his mind.” Why? Because they could not recognize Him. Although they were physically related to Him through His earthly mother and had spent many years growing up with Him, they were not yet born again- they were not yet in the family of God and thus could not recognize Him as the Christ. We know that at least some of His earthly family did later recognize Him as His half-brother James became an apostle and a leader of the church in Jerusalem and Jesus’ mother Mary proved to be a true follower of God.
But of all people that should have recognized the Christ it was the religious leaders among the Jews. The scribes knew the Word of God better than anyone and yet they accused Jesus of being possessed by a demon and casting out demons by the power of Satan- the very enemy of God whom Jesus was forcing back and continues to force back upon this earth. They did not recognize Jesus for who He really is and so Jesus corrects them. A kingdom divided against itself will fall apart just as a family against itself will fall apart. If you come against who you are to serve and love only destruction awaits. Everyone in a kingdom or family is to know and fulfill their own role. We can trust and recognize each other and work together towards a common goal. But if we are from a different kingdom or a different family we can’t expect this to be true and we will be divided. Jesus brings out this picture more clearly by describing someone trying to steal from a strong man’s house. There is no way that a strong man is going to let you take from him without great difficulty. The only way you could do this is to tie him up. As the ways of God are in absolute contradiction to the ways of Satan there is no way that Jesus as the Christ could be forcing back the powers of darkness by the power of Satan. Satan would not allow it.
The words of the scribes revealed the great danger that they were in: they revealed that they were not only among the enemies of God but there was no way for them to recognize Jesus as the Christ by what they had declared about Jesus. They had examined Jesus and said He was of the devil. It wasn’t a matter of confusion in trying to recognize Jesus like His earthly brothers and sisters and mother. Rather they declared Him to be the very enemy of God- the very opposite of God. If our understanding of the Christ becomes so turned upside down that we see Jesus as the very enemy of God we can never be saved. This is the extreme danger that Jesus is making known here.
Do you recognize the Christ? Can you recognize your brothers and sisters who are in the spiritual family of God? Or are you confused as Jesus’ earthly brothers and sisters were? Do not become so confused as the scribes who turned the love of God upside down and there was no way for them to recognize Jesus as the Christ. Jesus Christ came to save sinners no matter what evil we have done if only we will repent and believe!
Pastor Murray Hack