Monday, March 09, 2009

Lenten Reading Mark 3:20-31

Mark 3: 20-31

Jesus arrives home and people won’t leave him alone. His family thought Jesus was crazy and tried to have him locked up for his own protection. And their fear wasn’t without merit. Along comes the scribes accusing him of having a demon (Beelebul meaning “Lord of the Dwelling”).

Jesus bursts out with a “parable,” ”How can Satan drive out Satan. If a kingdom if divided against itself it cannot one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house will be plundered!”

So Jesus was clearly talking about an an adversarial approach to dealing with evil. But what the scribes may or may not noticed was that Jesus wasn’t necessarily talking about demons, but was talking about THEM.

“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin - for they had said ‘He has an unclean spirit.’”

They had given Satan credit for the work that God had done. And as Uruguayan theologian Juan Luis Segundo points out:

“The blasphemy resulting from bad apologetics [defense of what God has done] will always be pardonable...What is not pardonable is using theology to turn real human liberation [illustrated in the man healed of an unclean spirit] into something odious. The real sin against the Holy Spirit is refusing top recognize, with ‘theological’ joy, some concrete liberation that is taking place before one’s very eyes.”

Which is what happened with the scribes. “Thus by the end of his defense, Jesus has turned the tables completely upon his opponents; it is they who are aligned against God’s purposes” Myers p. 167).

So, this passage digs Jesus’ conflict with some of the religious deeper, as he reinterprets religious authority. His relationship to official religion become more tense as he goes along.

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