Mark 3: 22-35
BRIEF INTRO: In our previous study, CALLING THE TWELVE, we were focused on Jesus’ appointing the twelve disciples to apostleship. This occurred after the controversy over Sabbath-healing and the Pharisees plotting with the Herodians to destroy Jesus (3:6).
Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea, where the multitudes from all parts of Palestine followed Him (3:7). There He healed many and confronted demons (unclean spirits).
Jesus not only faced opposition from without but also from within. That is where our focus in this study begins.
20 And He *came [a]home, and the crowd *gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat [b]a meal. 21 And when His own [c]people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”
FOCUS ONE: Opposition from within (friends and family)
Jesus returns to Capernaum, His hometown, and it appears that He enters into Peter’s house again (2:1), where He has taken up temporary residence. Once again, many people follow Him looking for a miracle, healing, or just a good show. Mark tells us, “they could not even eat a meal.”
We find an interesting statement in verse 21: “And when His own people heard of this.” Who are His people? Local community, Jews, maybe family? The Greek expression used here describes someone’s friends or close associates. But in its strictest sense, it meant family, which appears to be the best way to understand it in these verses.
Jesus’ family heard that He was back in town, and they went to take Him away from the crowds, using force if necessary (v. 21). What was going on in their minds that they would believe that to be a viable option? They may have thought that He was crazy, a bit off, considering that He was thinking more of others, people He did not know, above Himself and perhaps even them. All His time is spent away, helping all types of people, even people the Pharisees say should not be considered approachable.
The things they heard Him say or that were reported back to them. The wild accounts they hear about most likely became too much for them to reason out, and He needed to be brought back to His senses. We can assume that they did not understand Jesus’ mission or purpose for being there. They had enough and so reacted in kind.
That doesn’t mean that their intentions were evil; most likely, they had good intentions. But, good intentions without proper understanding always leads to poor judgment!
While our intentions may be good and our desire to help another appears noble, is our understanding of the situation and the persons’ motives correct? Have we OR are we in danger of committing the same mistake? Perhaps it would help us consider this truth in light of our daily walk of faith.
22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He [a]is possessed by [b]Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”
FOCUS TWO: Opposition from without
Mark tells us that the Scribes came down from Jerusalem. What does that mean? These men were “*Primarily Pharisees, i.e., authorities on Jewish law. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘lawyers.’ They were professional scholars whose speciality was explaining the application of the law.” Most of the Scspecialtylittle interest in the truth and its application. That is evident throughout the gospel accounts. Even though they witnessed many of the miracles Jesus performed, they were more focused on “destroying” Him so they could get back to the status quo (v.6; John 11:45-53).
In these verses, they give voice to their one accusation. “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons” (v. 22).
We need to remember that the “multitudes often surround Jesus.” That group would consist of:
2. The crowds
3. The scribes
Each group has its agenda:
1. To learn from Jesus and serve
2. Motivated by curiosity and desire for physical healing
3. To accuse Him and argue with Him
4. Exert control over Him, perhaps protect Him
Jesus is confronted by one of those groups, the Scribes, and is accused of being possessed by Beelzebul!
Such rejection of the apparent truth; rejection of such clear revelation and experience by these men or any other person grieves my heart. To think that a person can come so close to Christ, experience His power, compassion, wisdom, and authority, and yet turn away from Him is concerning.
This is precisely what the writer of Hebrews is warning against (Hebrews 2:1-4)!
2 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to [a]what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved [b]unalterable, and every violation and act of disobedience received a just [c]punishment, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? [d]After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, and by various [e]miracles and by [f]gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
How sad but true that such a thing does happen. There is no other way to receive forgiveness but through Jesus Christ (John 6:68). You can read about The Gospel here.
23 And so He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 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 [a]he is finished! 27 But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.
28 “Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons and daughters of men, and whatever blasphemies they commit; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
FOCUS THREE: Jesus’ response
Jesus responds to their accusation by calling them closer to Himself as He speaks in parables. While their unfounded accusation was brief, His response was not! Parables were stories that involved present physical realities that illustrated a spiritual truth.
It seems that His argument proceeds from the lesser to the greater.
1. How can Satan cast out Satan? (The accusation)
2. Kingdom divided cannot stand
3. House divided against itself cannot stand
4. So, Satan would not be able to stand (The logical conclusion)
Simple logic! That is related to kingdoms and homes is true of Satan’s realm.
It reminds me of Ray Comforts witnessing videos when He gives proof that God, the creator, exists (building, painting, creation). He argues from the lesser-known truth to the greater using physical realities to teach a spiritual truth.
31 Then His mother and His brothers *came, and while standing outside they sent word to Him, calling for Him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they *said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33 Answering them, He *said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 And looking around at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, this is My brother, and sister, and mother.”
FOCUS FOUR: The family arrives
Again surrounded by the “multitude,” Jesus is notified that His family is outside “looking for Him” (cr. v.21). We learn from this statement that Jesus DID have half brothers and sisters. I say “half” because Joseph did not have any physical participation in the pregnancy of Mary (Matthew 1:18-25).
In Chapter Six, we learn some of their names!
5. “His sisters here with us?”
So, His earthly family is still outside, seeking to get near Him to remove Him from the multitude to a designated “safe space” where they can try to bring Him back to some sense of sanity (in their thinking).
But, in response to that information, Jesus makes a confusing statement for some (immediate earthly family), BUT an encouraging statement for others (Those who believe in Him)!
This statement is like a bomb that just exploded! What does He mean by this? Isn’t family important? Can we pick out or cast aside family at will? Many questions can arise from His statement. But what is His point?
First, we must understand that Jesus IS NOT disrespecting His family with these words. In John 19:25-27, for example. Dying on the cross, His last breath near, Jesus’ thoughts were on the care of His mother, Mary. He tells John to “behold your mother.” And to His mother, He says, “behold your son.” John took her into his household in obedience to Christ at that moment!
The issue is not that anyone can become a “spiritual mother, brother, or sister to Jesus BUT that through faith in Him and obedience to His will, we become part of the “family of God.” Adopted children, by grace thru faith!
*Macarthur Study Bible notes, pg. 1394