During his ministry on earth, Jesus often spoke directly to those with him with words of instruction intended specifically for those individuals. Less frequently he spoke to all who would listen to him, using words of universal importance. Over these few weeks we reflect on some of the instructions from the Gospel of Mark that Jesus intended we, and all who follow him, should receive and obey.
Gospel of Mark 3: 20-30 (NIV)
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
23 So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no-one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
The statement with universal application in verse 29 is staggering in its implications: “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
Those words, “will never be forgiven,” have a dreadful finality. To impute anything that comes from God – Father, Son or Holy Spirit – whether given or spoken, as having its origin in the devil is to forfeit one’s soul to the devil.
I cannot believe that any person reading this reflection would be in that situation, but you might know of others who are. How are we to respond to these words of Jesus? We can uphold these blasphemers in prayer. We can actively watch for opportunities to speak God’s truth into their lives. We can hold out some hope for them in that, with God, nothing is too difficult. Although the old self may be put to death, the new self, if born anew into Christ, may be invited to spend eternity with him.