As Jesus’ public ministry advances forward, the chasm that separates his true followers from the false continues to widen. As we noted in the last message on Mark 3:7-21 (“The Crowd and the Chosen”), there is no neutrality when one is presented with a true picture of Jesus Christ. Mark has been painting this true picture, which sometimes looks differently than the ones we’ve painted with our own imaginations. Given the reality, we are faced with a choice. We saw how those in the multitude followed Jesus merely for the personal benefits; and we saw how he became a scandal for his family, who thought he was “out of his mind.” There really are only two options: embrace him as Lord, or reject him completely.
Chapter 3:22-30 makes this dichotomy more stark. The scribes go beyond what Jesus’ family and the crowd said in their criticism. They declared that Jesus was possessed by the devil and that his miracles were the result of demonic power. To us, this charge might seem like the height of sacrilegious foolishness, but it seems the scribes were totally comfortable with saying it.
Indeed, this charge is sacrilegious. In fact, Jesus equates it with blasphemy, a category of sin that the Jewish leaders would be well acquainted with. By daring to claim that Jesus’ power was demonic, they were profaning the very name of God. And this blasphemy, Jesus says, is so damning it could not be forgiven.
This charge is also foolish. As Jesus questioned his accusers, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” Quite plainly, it makes no sense.
But what would inspire such a ridiculous charge? The truth is, when the Light is rejected, all that is left is darkness. All people, not just scribes and Pharisees, are in darkness unless they embrace Jesus, the Light of the world. So what might seem to us as a foolish statement is really the raw thoughts of everyone who rejects Christ.
Thankfully, Jesus is more powerful than our foolish blasphemies. Satan and the demons really do have power, but they are nothing against the power of Christ. The message of the gospel is that Jesus has come into a world infested with Satanic forces and he binds the strong man, Satan, as he continues to clean house. Embrace the Savior through repentance and faith, and watch the demons run; reject the Savior, and stay in the clutches of darkness. May the grace of God lead us to the correct choice.