Crazy or Evil
CRAZY OR EVIL? – Mark 3: 20-30
In the passage that was read you find two attacks on Jesus.
- For two thousand years people have been attacking Jesus…and that is amazing to me.
- No one teaches a higher standard of morals and ethics than Jesus does.
- If it wasn’t for Jesus’ influence, this world would be in total and utter chaos.
- He has done more for mankind than anyone else has.
- And, He has made it possible for all men to be saved…and yet, people continue to attack Him.
- And two of the most popular accusations against Jesus are found here in this text.
- Two accusations that come from two groups you wouldn’t expect.
- And one of the two accusations draws a serious, stern reaction from Jesus.
- And as Jesus deals with these two accusations He causes each one of us to make a decision about “Who He is?”
- Not only that, but He teaches us some other very important and valuable lessons.
- So, let’s look at the two attacks on Jesus and hopefully, we will come away from our study just a little bit wiser.
The first attack…if you will notice in verse 20, Jesus has come home and the multitudes have gathered to the point that Jesus and His disciples “can’t even eat a meal.”
And look at verse 21. In verse 21 it says, “when His own people…His own kinsmen…His own family heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him.”
- That phrase, “take custody” is a strong word…and it speaks of “arresting” someone…to “take hold of someone.”
- They weren’t going to try and reason with Jesus.
- They were going to forcibly bring Him home and hopefully settle Him down!
And look at why in verse 21: “He has lost His senses!”
Now, we need to be careful about being too critical of His family in saying this.
- After all, Jesus has left His job as a carpenter.
- And He has formed a strange little group that consists of men who have left their jobs too!
- And the things He is teaching and doing is causing a serious conflict with the leaders of traditional religion.
- And, Rome is known for crucifying anyone who stirs up trouble and causes problems.
- And probably the last straw for His family taking this action was when Mary finds out that He is not even taking time to eat well…and so she tells her other sons, “Go and get your brother and bring Him home!”
- They think He has lost His senses.
- They didn’t understand.
And this same thing may have happened to some of us…and if someone here this morning decides to “lose their senses” and follow after Christ, this same thing can happen to you.
- I mean you have grown up in your family with your brothers and sisters.
- And then you decide to obey Jesus and follow Him.
- And you leave some old ways behind…some old ways of thinking…some old ways of doing things.
- You make some changes that your family doesn’t understand…and when you do, don’t be surprised if your family reacts much the same way that Jesus’ did.
- “You’ve lost your senses! You have become a fanatic! You have gone to far!”
- It has happened to a lot of us.
- It is amazing how uncomfortable some can get over having a religious fanatic in the family.
And isn’t it interesting that people are much more frequently called “fanatics” when they endanger their health in the cause of Christ than when they run similar risks in the pursuit of wealth or fame?
- If Jesus would have run these risks for football, or baseball, or soccer…
- If He would have run these risks in order to close out some business deal or to do His job…
- Would they have thought He “had lost His senses?”
You can give up your life and health chasing dollars and nobody says that you are “crazy.”
- But give the church a little more than the usual amount of time and people say, “You are going too far!”
- They thought He had lost His senses and when you follow Christ don’t be surprised if people think the same about you.
Now, let’s look at the second accusation found in verse 22.
- In verse 22 the scribes come down from Jerusalem and they say, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and He casts out the demons by the rulers of the demons.”
These are the two most popular accusations against Jesus…He is either a “lunatic” or “He is in league with the devil.”
And I want you to notice something here about these scribes
- They didn’t deny the supernatural work of Jesus…nobody tried to deny that Jesus did miracles.
- They just tried to explain them in different ways.
The Rabbis say, “He is possessed by Beelzebul” or “He is in partnership with the devil.”
- Now, there are some things you can say and get away with.
- But there are some things you cannot say without a confrontation.
- Look at what Jesus says starting in verse 23.
- This is one of the most interesting and difficult texts in the Bible.
23 And 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 “And 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 he is finished! 27 “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.
The first thing I want you to notice is what Jesus thinks of Satan.
- Jesus doesn’t think that Satan is just a superstition that a bunch of ignorant people have come up with.
- He doesn’t say, “Since they came up with this idea of Satan I will go along with it in order to teach them a couple of lessons.”
In this passage Jesus says that Satan is a real, malevolent being that is as intent on destroying you as Jesus is on saving you.
- In 1 Peter 5: 8, Peter says that “Satan prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
- Just like you don’t trifle with a lion you don’t trifle with Satan…you don’t trifle with evil forces.
- You don’t dabble with things that are dark…and you don’t involve yourself even playfully with anything that belongs to the other kingdom.
- Satan is real and he is intensely devoted to destroying you.
- And one of the great needs of the church today is to take our enemy more serious and do all we can to resist him.
There is something else implied here in what Jesus says.
- Jesus says, “Satan can’t or won’t rise up against himself.”
- That implies that there is an essential unity in the kingdom of evil.
- The kingdom of evil, by nature is a unit…Satan will never wage war against his own kingdom.
- In the kingdom of evil there is no gossiping, no slander, no backbiting or accusing.
- They all have one foe and they work together against it.
- Wouldn’t it be great if the Kingdom of God would be as united as the kingdom of evil?
Let’s get back to the major point of the lesson.
- Now, keep in mind what these people are saying about Jesus.
- They are saying that He is in “league with the devil.”
- And Jesus isn’t going to let them get away with it.
Jesus says two things here: If Satan doesn’t wage war against himself…if Satan doesn’t cast out demons…and yet, Jesus is casting out demons…then Jesus cannot be in league with Satan.
And, not only that, if Satan is the strong man…but no one enters the strong man’s house and plunders his property unless He first binds the strong man…then Jesus is stronger than Satan.
Now, look at what Jesus says in verse 28: “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 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.”
Now, the question is not the existence of an eternal sin…Jesus says here that there is one.
- The question is, “What is it?” “What is this unforgiveable sin?”
And we have all heard lessons on it.
- Some say it is “taking the Lord’s name in vain.”
- Others say it is suicide.
- Where are those things talked about in this text?
The key for understanding what Jesus is talking about when He refers to an “eternal sin” is found in vs. 30 where it says that he was saying these things, “because they were saying, He has an unclean spirit.”
- Where it says, “they were saying”, in the Greek that is the imperfect tense.
- That means “it began in the past and continued.”
- That means what they were saying here wasn’t just an “off the cuff remark.”
- This was a deliberate, hardened, fixed position that they had taken.
- This was something they said in the past…and regardless of what they had seen…what they had heard…and what they had read in the O.T. prophesies…they continued to say it.
- Their stock answer was, “He works for the devil.”
Let me show you something.
- Do you realize that in every case where Jesus drove out demons there were witnesses?
- Jesus never cast out demons privately…people always watched.
- And there was a reason for that. Look at John 20: 30-31.
20 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
You were supposed to learn something and believe something when you watched Jesus drive out demons.
- You were supposed to learn and believe that “Jesus is Christ, the Son of God.”
- And these scribes should have recognized that, not only because of Jesus’ miracles, but also because the O.T. prophets said that He was coming.
- But, what did they do?
- They rejected Him…and the denied Him.
- And they came up with this old stock, deliberate, hardened answer.
- And regardless of what they saw…and regardless of what they should have known, they continued to say, “He works for the devil.”
- Their hearts were so hardened that they would rather call “light, darkness, and good, evil.”
And the eternal sin is fundamentally this: it is the “willful and deliberate rejection of the Holy Spirits witness concerning the divinity of Jesus.”
- God has reached out to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.
- And Jesus has been attested to…and confirmed by the Holy Spirit to be the Son of God.
- And the eternal sin is to see the Holy Spirit’s confirmation of who Christ is…and to comprehend it…and then refuse it.
Can a person do that today?
- Of course he can.
- The Spirit of God still confirms Jesus today through the written word, and through the spoken word, and through the empty tomb.
- And still today, people continue to harden their hearts against what the Spirit says about Christ.
This text is not about God’s refusal to forgive sin.
- In fact, it is just the opposite.
- Jesus says in a bold statement, “All sins and blasphemies can be forgiven.”; vs. 28
- So, it is not about God’s refusal to forgive sin.
This text is about men’s refusal to accept Jesus once they have been exposed by the Spirit of God to the truth of who He is.
- To be blunt…this is a text that says, “You cannot be right with God if you choose to be wrong about Jesus.”
There are only two possibilities…eternal life and eternal condemnation.
- And whether you have eternal life…or eternal condemnation all comes down to what you think of Jesus.
And some people will say, “I don’t believe there is an eternal sin and I don’t believe there is an eternal judgment.”
- Why would Jesus mention it if it were not so?
The question of “who Jesus is” is not one about which men can remain neutral.
- Eternal consequences weight in the balance.
- It matters eternally what you think of Jesus…in fact, what you think of Jesus matters more than anything else.
Let me tell you a story. Just a few years ago, Dr. Leo Winters, one of the most respected surgeons in the mid-west, woke up to a phone call at 1:00 in the morning, at his home in Chicago. He picked up the phone and they said, “Dr. Winters, there has been an accident and a little boy has been seriously hurt. We need you to come do surgery.” He said, “Can’t someone else do it?” And they replied, “No, Dr. Winters, you are the only one skilled enough in this region to save his life.”
So, Dr. Winters threw on some clothes, and he got in his car and drives through a tough part of town on the south side of Chicago because it is the quickest way to get to the hospital. And Dr. Winters didn’t have his doors locked when he came to a stop at a red light, and a man rushed up in a flannel shirt and an old grey hat, and he threw the door open, and grabbed Dr. Winters and threw him in the street and said, “I need your car”, and before Dr. Winters could explain where he was going, the man took off and left Dr. Winters behind.
It took Dr. Winters 45 minutes to find a phone and call a taxi and get to the hospital. When he arrived a nurse met him and said, “Dr. Winters, the boy just died. His father is in the chapel…and he is upset…He doesn’t understand why you didn’t get here sooner. Could you go and talk to him.
Dr. Winters goes down the hall…and goes in the chapel…and there in the front, kneeling and sobbing was the man in the old gray hat and the flannel shirt. The man who had pushed away the one who could save.
What do you say about Jesus?
- There are thousands of answers you could give to push Him away.
- There is only one that can save.
- And you cannot deal with the sin question until you settle the Son question.
- Who is Jesus?
We are going to sing our answer while you make up your mind.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023