Monday after the First Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: St. Mark 3 (NKJV)
1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. 11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16 Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”; 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.
20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”
23 So He called them to Himself 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 cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. 27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation “—30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
“He who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:29).
Our Lord cast a demon out of a possessed man. The Pharisees didn’t want to recognize the authority of Jesus, but it’s hard to argue with a miracle like that! Still, they tried. They claimed it was by demonic power that He was casting out demons. After Jesus explained how obviously wrong such an explanation was, He launched into this warning about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
The verse worries a lot of Christians. What is this unforgivable sin? Have I committed it? Let’s deal with that second question first: No, you haven’t. If you’re at all concerned, it is because the Holy Spirit is at work in your heart. If the Holy Spirit had utterly forsaken you, you wouldn’t care about matters of salvation! Instead of worrying, heed the Word of the Lord and remain repentant.
In context, the sin against the Holy Spirit is a matter of being wrong about Jesus on purpose. Plenty of people are wrong about Jesus. But the Pharisees saw Jesus as a threat, so they weren’t just wrong, they were being wrong on purpose by rejecting the possibility that Jesus spoke the truth. Be not like unto them! Rather, may God continue to grant us His Holy Spirit so that we repent of our sinful thoughts and conform our minds to the teaching of Jesus.
We pray: “Heavenly Father, ever renew my faith in Christ by Your Holy Spirit, that His forgiveness and eternal life may remain mine, through the same Jesus, my Lord. Amen.”