Devotional Journey Through The Gospel of Mark: Chapter 3
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.
Jesus deliberately healed this man on the Sabbath. The religious leaders were waiting to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. They were imprisoned by their own wisdom, their pride, and their traditions. They failed to see that Jesus was truly the Messiah.
This man has a withered hand. Jesus is moved with compassion and He is led and guided by the Holy Spirit. Everything Jesus did in His life was for an eternal reason and purpose. Everything we have in scripture is meant to teach us something about God and reveal who He is.
Jesus told this man to stretch out his hand. The man responded at the word of Jesus and he was healed. Sometimes we may wonder why we haven’t seen God touch or move in a situation. But we need to ask ourselves are we responding in obedience to the word of the Lord. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us and calls us to do something, are we truly responding in faith, or are we imprisoned by fear.
Jesus asks is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill. If Jesus saw the need of this man and knew that He was able to heal Him, and that the Spirit of God was leading Him to and didn’t, it would be evil that would be done by Jesus. But Jesus was without sin and the right action in fact was to heal this man on the Sabbath.
Even though this went against their traditions and their man made wisdom, the ultimate authority we have is the word of God. Just as the Pharisees did in Jesus day elevating the wisdom of man over the word of God, many today who would be considered religious and blinded by their own pride have heeded the wisdom of man over the word of God. If we truly desire to know and understand the word of God it requires humility on our part. It requires us to come to the Holy Spirit seeking to know and understand the word and to submit all things to 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.
Jesus withdrew because of the threat of the religious leaders. But Jesus no matter where He went, people were drawn to Him. In the presence of Jesus many were healed by His touch. In everything Jesus did He demonstrated His authority and also that He was the Messiah.
There were those who had unclean spirits. They had possessed the individuals they were afflicting and with a word Jesus drove them out. The unclean spirits could not stand in the presence of Jesus and when they began to proclaim that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus drove them out with a word and He silenced them. The last thing Jesus wanted was to be associated with unclean spirits.
As followers of Christ we have nothing to fear. No matter what we face, we can know in our hearts that Jesus is greater. We must trust Him each step of the way and know that He will indeed work all things together for our good. Our journey with Jesus each day is simply a question of trust. Do we really trust Jesus and do we really trust God at His word. But through every miracles Jesus showed time and time again that He was indeed the Messiah.
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 Cananite; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.
We know from Luke 6:12 that Jesus spent all night in prayer before He chose the twelve disciples. Jesus had many who follow Him, but He invested His life in twelve men who would carry on His work after His death and resurrection. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him and this was part of the Father’s will to fulfill all that was spoken of in scripture.
Jesus chose these men to be with Him. The way Jesus trained the disciples was simply living with Him and living out before them all He called them to do. They didn’t fully understand all that Jesus was teaching them while Jesus was upon the earth, but it would be the Holy Spirit who would help them to understand.
These men were given authority to heal those who had sickness and to drive out demons. All authority in ministry to accomplish the purposes of the Kingdom simply comes from Christ alone. We can do nothing in ourselves, but as we fully yield to Jesus and His Lordship, there is nothing that is too difficult for God to accomplish through us.
These men were twelve ordinary men. They were not of the religious elite but most likely were overlooked by those who were considered to be religious leaders of Jesus day. When Jesus chose these twelve He was led and guided by the Holy Spirit. Spending all night in prayer enabled Him to discern and see who the Father had chosen. When Jesus chose these twelve men He didn’t focus on who they were but who they would become by His grace and power.
Every person called by God has destiny and purpose in Him. God calls us to surrender all things to Him and to love Him with all that we are. If we continue to give room for sin in our lives it will destroy what God desires to do. But if we will simply yield our hearts fully to Christ it will truly be amazing what God will do with our lives upon this earth.
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.
Even those who were closest to Jesus thought He was out of His mind. But the religious leaders were more ruthless with their accusation. They made claims that the only way Jesus was able to drive out demons was by the power of Satan. They were in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus was indeed driving out demons by the power of Satan, then Satan’s kingdom would be divided against itself. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. A house divided against itself will collapse. Jesus revealed the foolishness of not only their theology but also how hardened their hearts were.
What feared them most about Jesus was that He claimed to be the Messiah. They desired to hold fast to their position and their standing with the people. But everytime they questioned Jesus, Jesus showed how truly foolish and lost they really were. They were to be the shepherds of the people of Israel, but sadly they were nothing more than blind guides leading them down a wrong road.
The only way Jesus was able to drive out demons was by the power of God. It demonstrated His authority and that He was indeed who He truly claimed to be. We must be very careful that we are not blinded by pride and arrogance. Pride will always lead to a fall and it will rob of us truly understanding truth.
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.”
What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Jesus tells us here that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. We must examine who Jesus was talking to when He said this and what they were doing when it was being said.
Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of His day. These were not born again Christians. These were individuals who were called to be the shepherds of Israel, but instead they were leading the people of Israel into darkness. We see how blinded they were because the Messiah who they had studied the scriptures about was standing in front of them and they could not see.
But it is their heart and attitude that is revealed in their words. Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and instead of praising God for the healing they instead charge Jesus with having an unclean spirit and doing His works by the power of the devil. They were blaspheming the Holy Spirit because Jesus did all things by the power of the Holy Spirit and they claimed it was of the devil.
First of all we must know that it is impossible for a believer in Christ who is truly born again to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. I personally thought for a period of time that I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. It terrorized me on a daily basis and I truly understood how powerful a lie can be when one believes it. But in the end it was simply a lie.
Someone who has blasphemed the Holy Spirit has so hardened their heart to Almighty God that they would attribute the works and miracles of Christ to the power of Satan. For someone to do this their heart has to be so hard and so cold that they simply have a hatred for Jesus and reject who He is.
What ultimately places an individual in the Lake of Fire is their rejection of Jesus Christ. If a person rejects Jesus Christ they reject the conviction and work of the Holy Spirit. The only way we can become born again and come to the place of salvation is through the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
Any Christian who fears they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit must recognize it is simply a lie from Satan and to reject it. If we meditate on the lies of the enemy and begin to believe them, they will begin to place us in bondage and do incredible harm to our lives. Our lives must be based upon truth for Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
Thankfully those of us who know Jesus as Lord and Savior have been saved and redeemed by the grace of God. It is not based on our works, we have not earned it, it is simply a gift extended to us by God. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us on a daily basis. If a person is truly born again they will desire God, they will strive to live for God, they will truly repent of their sins, and over the course of their lives be transformed into the character and nature of Christ.
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.”
Jesus mother and His brothers come looking for Him. It is important to understand after Mary had Jesus as a virgin, she had other children by Joseph. Once Jesus was born and delivered, Mary and Joseph when they were able to would have consummate their marriage by having sexual intercourse.
During Jesus' earthly ministry His brothers did not believe that He was truly the Messiah. Both of Jesus' half brothers wrote books of the New Testament. James wrote the book of James and Jude wrote the book of Jude. We know from 1 Corinthians fifteen that Jesus appeared to James after He was resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:6-8). James would become a leader in the Jerusalem church. But on this day they came to get Jesus because they thought He was out of His mind and drawing far too much attention to Himself.
When Jesus was told that His mother and brothers were at the door, Jesus used it as a teaching moment to show who the true children of God are. They are those who do the will of God. Those who sat at the feet of Jesus believing Him to be the Messiah were doing the will of God. The will of God is to believe on the one whom He has sent.
We know that salvation and everything we have in God is by faith alone in Jesus Christ. When we truly understand the grace of God it frees us to simply live for God on a daily basis. We cannot earn the love of God and we cannot earn our salvation. Our right standing before God is based on our faith in Jesus Christ.
Those who are truly born again will desire to live for God and accomplish His will. When we come to Christ we come from a place of sin. But as we renew our minds daily with the truth of God’s word, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms and changes us. The more we surrender to the work and person of the Holy Spirit, the more we are empowered to be a witness for Jesus Christ on this earth. Simply carrying the title Christians means nothing, we must surrender all to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.