Saturday 16 January 2016

Bible Book:

“For they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’” (v. 30)

Mark 3:22-30 Saturday 16 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 12


The conflict between Jesus and the religious authorities beginsagain, but this time it is with scribes who "came down fromJerusalem" (v. 22). This suggests that his notoriety had spread tothe capital and that the national religious leaders thought itimportant enough to travel north and deal with this provincialpreacher who was causing so much trouble. Or perhaps it was thelocal leaders who had called for help after their encounterrecorded earlier in this chapter (Mark3:6) which led them to want to destroy Jesus.

The scribes shared the view of those who had been raisingconcerns with Jesus' family that his behaviour must mean that hewas demon possessed, and not just with any demon, but by "the rulerof the demons" (v. 22). In their opinion, this could be the onlyexplanation for what was happening. However Jesus uses their logicto make his own case and to argue against them. He agrees with themthat it would take a higher power to do what he is doing, for it isthrough the Holy Spirit that he does what he does. He clearlyimplies that it is through this power that he is able to tie up the"strong man" that they know as Satan or Beelzebul; it is throughthe Holy Spirit that Jesus is able to defeat the power of evil (v.27). This is something John the Baptist predicted would be the case(Mark 1:8) when he told his followers that Jesuswould baptize with the Holy Spirit.

A characteristic of some of Jesus' important statements was tobegin with the word "truly" (eg v. 28), giving them a degree ofauthority, and he uses this to conclude his debate with thescribes. He turns the tables on them, making it clear that theirfailure to recognise the Holy Spirit working through him isunforgivable. They were regarded as the religious experts, thepeople who supposedly had the closest relationship with God as aresult of their understanding of his law, but when they found Godat work, instead of the wrongdoing they had come seeking, they hadfailed to see the good in front of their eyes. To Jesus this wasunacceptable and he made his views clear.

To Ponder

  • Are there times when our religious traditions and rituals blindus to God at work in the people we meet and the world around us?Pray that our eyes might be opened to avoid this happening.
  • Consider any failings or way of living that can feel like a"strong man" (v. 27) inappropriately controlling or damaging yourown life. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to 'tie up' andovercome these problems.

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