John Carter – September 25, 2014 – Mark 3:7-35 – Gospel
Opposing the Will of God
Opposing the Will of God
Mark says that Jesus came proclaiming the Gospel of God (1:14). Jesus said that he came to preach that Gospel (1:38). Jesus even appointed 12 men to assist in preaching the Gospel of God (3:14). The word for ‘proclaim’ in Mark 1:14 is the same word for preaching here in 3:14. So when in Mark 3:35 Jesus defines his familial relationship on the condition that his family members do the will of God it is appropriate to associate the will of God with the preaching of the Gospel of God. That means, those who preach the Gospel, –those who teach others about Jesus and his Gospel– are part of the Family of God. And as we shall see tonight those who oppose the work of preaching the Gospel of God are involved in the demonic work of opposing the will of God.
People Need Jesus – Satan is Ruining their Lives
People desperately need Jesus and they are doing crazy things to get to him. Unfortunately for the crowd in Mark 3:9 their desperation was going to cause Jesus’ untimely death. They were crushing in on Jesus and he had to get on a boat to avoid the mob. These chaotic conditions were developing because the sick were being made well. The demon possessed were being freed. And the demons were being silenced because they we proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus silenced them because he knew that it was not yet his time to be fully revealed. That time was still yet to come. The people wanted to be made well by this man from Nazareth. People desperately needed Jesus. People desperately need Jesus! How long, Christian, will we neglect a dying world? A world that is drowning in its own filth? Church, we are not some country club or social media fan club that needs another ‘like’. We are the bride of Christ here to bring hope through the message of the Gospel to the world.
Jesus Has Called Disciples to Preach the Gospel and to Oppose Even demons
That is why Jesus has assigned each of His disciples with a very straight forward task. The task to preach the Gospel. Although Jesus called 12 unique individuals for a unique task the fundamentals remain for us. Jesus never calls without sending. Christian, we are to preach the Gospel so that the lost might be saved. There is no church leadership position in the New Testament called ‘Preacher’. Preaching is the task of every disciple of Christ. To isolate the task of preaching the Gospel to the pulpit is to reject the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations. If you have been called by Christ then you have been commanded by Christ to proclaim the gospel. As I mentioned earlier, ‘preaching’ and ‘proclaiming’ are from the same word. So, although our individual call to preach may have a unique form and function the purpose remains the same. To offer hope to a dying world through the verbal communication of the Gospel.
But to be fair, the hope of offered is not always warmly welcomed. In fact many have rejected the Gospel. Some have come in contact with Jesus and thought him to be a well-meaning but misguided man; like his Blood relatives. Others have seen the work of Jesus and called it demonic; like the scribes.
Family & Enemies of Jesus both Oppose the Will of God
Jesus own brothers and Mother thought he was out of his mind and sought bring him home. The scribes thought Jesus was doing the work of Satan and they too sought to stop him. It is at this time that Jesus introduces the truth that Satan cannot cast himself out and be able to stand. Through a parable Jesus tells of what his purpose is. Jesus says that for a strong man (who we should understand to be Satan) to be over thrown and plundered that strong man must first be tied up. Jesus is saying the that he is the one who came to bind Satan so that his house might be plundered.
Jesus follows up his parable with the hope any who sin can receive forgiveness. The Gospel message lets everyone know that even our most distasteful sin can be forgiven. However, whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. We should understand blaspheming the Holy Spirit as rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit. This rejection will cause a person to be unforgiven. Because to reject the work of the Holy Spirit is to deny the power of God. Paul says that in the last days many people will have a form of Godliness but deny its power. People will look like good people or even like good Christians but they will deny the Holy Spirit as the one doing the work of God. If it isn’t for the working of the Holy Spirit then our obstinate heart will be our death. Without humble repentance there will be no forgiveness of our sins. To reject the Holy Spirit is to reject forgiveness.
Those Who Do the Will of God
It is interesting to see that Jesus’ rebuking of the scribes for disbelief is sandwiched in between the recounting of Jesus’ blood relatives seeking to bring Jesus home because they too didn’t believe but instead thought that he was crazy. We would expect the scribes to be rebuked by Jesus for their disbelief but it is Jesus’ rebuking of his Blood relatives and even his mother that is startling. Jesus dismisses their claim to be family and clearly states that family in the Kingdom of God is restricted to those who obey the will of God. Jesus’ brothers and Mother were left on the outside. Some people may directly deny the Holy Spirit by declaring his work to be demonic. But we are no better than Mary the Mother of Jesus and his siblings if we fail to obey the will of God.
This sandwiching of Jesus opponents calling the Holy Spirit demonic between the efforts of Jesus’ blood relatives to suppress the work of Christ should force us to ask, ‘what is the meaning of this this historical event?’ The meaning is simple; Jesus’ work is not of Satan. And Jesus family is not of this world. Only those who are entrenched in the will of God find their familial ties in Jesus. The will of God is that the work of Satan is violently opposed. The scribes misdiagnosed what the work of Satan looks like. They didn’t know what the work of the Holy Spirit looks like either. And Jesus’ blood relatives sought to subtly subdue the work of the Spirit. Both groups of people were ultimately against what God had appointed Jesus to do and what God had sent the Spirit to accomplish. James Edward in his commentary on Marks says it like this, “ to seek to avert Jesus from his mission is satanic.’ Any effort to slow or stop the work of Christ or the preaching of the Gospel— whether we are trying to save face or we disagree with the message or methods of Jesus –these efforts are demonic.
Believe Jesus and Obey the Will of God
Christian, we read about this necessity to do the will of God but we don’t believe it. I know we don’t believe it because if we did believe then we wouldn’t be so silent to those who we see every day and exchange pleasantries but never deliver truth. How many times have we purposely resisted the Holy Spirits prodding to tell someone about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Instead of yielding to the Spirit we instead build an air tight case for why this isn’t the right time. Or like Jesus blood relatives convince ourselves that sharing the Gospel in that moment would be crazy. Or worse we tell ourselves that that prodding we sense isn’t the Spirit but instead it is the work of Satan?
There are people who will die tonight and never live another day to enjoy even the fleeting pleasures of this life. But here we are playing church trying to protect Jesus from the crazy things he is doing and saying so that we don’t look bad to our friends and our world. Or we are here calling the work of Christ, and consequently the work of the Holy Spirit, demonic. This is not good people. This is not good at all.
If we want to claim the privileges that are associated with being related to Christ then you and I must ask ourselves and respond to a very simple question: Are we doing the will of God? Are we being faithful to respond to the task that Christ has given us to repent and be forgiven, to preach the Gospel, and to make disciples? If we are not willing to live for Christ then there is no way we are willing to die for Christ. So I beg you, put down your pride, put down yourself, and pick up your cross. Follow Christ and never look back. If we fail to receive and preach the Gospel with all blood earnestness then verifiably we are not his brothers. Verifiably we are not his sisters. Verifiably we are not his family. I urge each of you instead of participating in what is demonic –and deny the truth of the Gospel– participate in the Gospel and do the will of God.
 Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark, Pillar NT Commentary, p.126