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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: ‘How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.’ He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an impure spirit.’”—Mark 3:23–30 (NIV)
I have a three-year-old niece who I absolutely adore. When I get the privilege of putting her to bed, I crack open the door to her room so as not to disturb her younger sister already fast asleep. My eldest niece walks to her bed and clicks on her night light. Then she crawls in bed and drifts gently to sleep by the comfort from that light.
In this passage, Jesus uses a story, a parable, to illustrate a point to the teachers of the law. His story is about the weakness of a kingdom and a house divided. Think about this in the context of history. Kingdoms that have experienced division are more susceptible to falling. And in the context of construction, a house that is built on a fractured foundation will be unstable.
Taking the parable a bit further, Jesus uses the same logic to make his point when He says, “If Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand.” If Jesus is empowered by Satan (an impure spirit), as the teachers of the law claimed, He could not cast out satanic forces like demons because that would be self-destruction. Thus, Jesus has to be from another kingdom. In a dark room, you don’t use darkness to drive out the darkness. You use light, just like my niece’s night light.
Jesus then addresses forgiveness and the unforgivable sin. He warns them, lest they get to a point in their arguments and accusations against Him, when their actions become unforgivable. But if God is a God of forgiveness, how can blaspheming the Holy Spirit be unforgivable?
In his commentary on Blue Letter Bible, David Guzik explains it this way, “We understand what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is by first understanding what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is all about. Regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8), and that He will testify of Me (John 15:26). Therefore, when we persistently reject the work the Holy Spirit wants to do in us and when we have a continued, settled rejection of what He wants to tell us about Jesus, then we blaspheme the Holy Spirit.”
Sometimes we look at what’s happening in our lives and can only see darkness. We may mistakenly blame our pain on the enemy or on our circumstances, when in fact it could be that the Holy Spirit is shining the light of Jesus on dark places in our hearts, in our thinking, or in our souls for the purpose of growth, refining, and the process of sanctification. Don’t blaspheme the work of the Holy Spirit to show you Jesus!
PAUSE: Are there areas in your life that feel dark? Have you blamed God for your pain? How can you invite the Holy Spirit into your dark places to bring light?
PRACTICE: Take some time to make a list of all of the blessings you see in your life. When your mind focuses on negative thoughts, it affects your feelings and behavior. But choosing to focus on the things of light and acknowledging the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit will renew your mind!
PRAY: Jesus, I thank You that You have established Your kingdom here on Earth. You are the light of the world! I look forward to when I get to spend eternity with You forever. In the meantime, I invite the Holy Spirit to do His perfect work in me. I want to see You and know You more! In Jesus Name, Amen.