June 10, 2013

Blasphemous Words

Mark 3:20-30

The teachers of the law … said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out de-mons.”
—Mark 3:22


Jesus had returned to Galilee, but his presence resulted in a noisy crowd surrounding the house he was in and keeping everyone from eating. Rumor had it that Jesus was crazy. How else to explain what the people had heard about him?

Jesus had rebuked demons, cured many, forgiven sins, and healed people on the Sabbath. All this, plus parables that nobody quite understood—and with an authority that astounded them.

The Jerusalem authorities gave a darker explanation. They claimed Jesus was using greater demonic powers to overcome lesser demonic powers. They said he was a sorcerer bound to the powers of evil.

That was blasphemy, speaking profanely of God. To say that Jesus, who was anointed by the Holy Spirit, was actually anointed with an evil spirit was to deny his divinity and mission. That’s why Jesus said that whoever blasphemed against the Holy Spirit was “guilty of an eternal sin.”

Jesus was responding not to a careless comment spoken in haste but to entrenched, hardened hearts that willfully denied the work of the Spirit of God taking place in their midst.

Today Jesus is still the miracle worker, teacher, and forgiver he was then. With what kinds of words do we describe him?

Teacher, Savior, Son of God, may all our words about you be worthy of you and your love for us. Forgive us when we dishonor you in what we say or do. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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