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Faithlife

Family, Sandwiches, and Good vs. Evil

Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts
Mark 3:20-
Mark 3:20–35 ESV
Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Parable vv.22-30
True Family vv. 31-35
Mark is a story
Mark was written for an oral society - it was meant to be spoken and it was mean to be heard
The flow of Mark is a flow for a stage performance, a drama, a play.
Scenes in the play
And we see that this story, this play has all the elements contained to be reenacted, spoken, and heard
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Scenes in the play
Callings
healings
Questionings
Teachings
Stage props in the play
Wilderness
Sea of Galilee
Capernaum
Synagogue
Home (Peter or Jesus)
Actors in a play
John the baptist
First actor in the first scene
He prepares the way for the star, for the hero
John is arrested in 1:14 and doesn’t show up again until chapter 6
Jesus
Jesus has the main role, he is the hero, he is the one who drives the plot forward
Satan
He is the main Antagonist working through the demonic realm and different people
He hates Jesus
Jesus and Satan went to war in Chapter 1 where Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days
Disciples
First Jesus calls 4 - Peter, James, John and Andrew
He then calls Levi - who is later named Matthew (author of the Gospel of Matthew)
He then calls 12 apostles - the five he has already called and 7 more
Authorities
Scribes, Pharisees, Herodians
Also antagonistic
Crowds
Fans of Jesus - viewed him as a rockstar
Sick and lame - Peters mother in law, man with an unclean spirit, man with the withered hand
And now, for the first time in the Gospel of Mark we are being introduced to another actor
Jesus’ family
Jesus family only shows up twice in Marks Gospel - here in our passage this morning and again in 6:3
Jesus family is mentioned here in verse 21 and again in 31-35
Family
What we have here is a sandwich
Jesus’ family (first slice of bread)
Jesus vs. Satan (meat)
Jesus’ family (second slice of bread)
So lets look at the first slice of this markan sandwich
We know some about Jesus family
See Also
Relatives
Jacob Father-In-Law
Mary - Mother
Joseph - Father (It is assumed that Joseph died either right before or during Jesus’ ministry)
Jesus -
James - Brother
Judas - Brother (wrote the book of Jude)
Joses - Brother
Simon - Brother
For the most part we understand that Jesus was raised in a normal jewish family, where he learned to be a carpenter from his father.
So thats what we know about Jesus’ family
Now, up to this point in Mark we have seen Jesus doing a lot
Quirinius calls for a census
Related
Jerusalem
Israel
healing, teaching, exorcisms, eating, drinking, and most recently we have seen him escaping death.
Nazareth
People in Capernaum
So you would think that the arrival of Jesus’ family would be a great encouragement to Jesus.
People in Galilee
Further Reading
not so much… Look with me at mark 3:20-21
Mary (mother of Jesus) Wikipedia
Mark 3:20–21 ESV
Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Jesus returns home from the mountain where he appointed the twelve apostles. And when he gets home Mark tells us that a crowd gathered again. This crowd was intense, to the point that Jesus and his disciples couldn’t even eat.
This is the third time that we see Jesus in the house with a crowd so big that its blocking the door
Peters Mother in Law- After Jesus heals Peter’s Mother in Law a great crowd gathers (1:29-34)
Jesus Heals the Paralytic - There was a great crowd gathered around the house when Jesus was teaching so the men had to dig a hole in the roof to lower their friend down (2:1-12)
But this time Mark tells us that the crowd was so intense that Jesus and his disciples couldn’t eat.
More than likely they were unable to go to the market to purchase food.
So what happens? Mom finds out...
Example:
Did you ever get a care package from mom when you were at school?
I remember my first year at bible school receiving a care package from my mother
Contents include:
toothbrush and floss
odds and ends
snacks and food
Man, i loved getting food from my mom
And there would always be a note of encouragement in the box as well
So when Mark tells us that his family found out that he was unable to eat maybe you think that Mary is coming with some home cooking and encouragement for Jesus.
But thats not what happens
When they found out his family came to seize him, for they were saying, “he is out of his mind”
Not the encouraging words you may have wanted to hear.
Jesus own family is now acting hostile toward him
Now thinking through the the last few chapters we see this hostility growing
The authorities call Jesus a blasphemer
Scribes and Pharisee’s arguing with him over and over
The Pharisee’s watch Jesus enter the Synagogue so that they might ACCUSE him
The Pharisee’s plot to DESTROY him
We are told that Judas, one of the twelve will BETRAY him
And then his family shows up and they say he is “out of his mind”
This word means that one has lost his mind, gone crazy, or insane.
There were early Christians who tried to change the words in this passage to say something different, something less irreverent.
Here you have Mary, the mother of Jesus accusing Jesus of losing his mind.
You have the loved ones of Jesus joining the hostility in saying that Jesus is not credible for he is insane.
If the heat from his Mom and brothers is not enough, he also gets heat from the Jerusalem Scribes in the next section
This is the middle part of the sandwich
Mark inserted this story intentionally, This narrative is tied together thematically, not chronologically. This conversation with the scribes did not take place at the same time as the Jesus’ family stating that he had “lost his mind”
Mark 3:22-
Mark 3:22–30 ESV
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Mark notes that these Scribes were Scribes who came down from Jerusalem
The Gospel of Mark (b) The Charge that Jesus is Possessed. Ch. 3:22–30

The arrival of a delegation of legal specialists from Jerusalem suggests that the Galilean mission of Jesus had attracted the critical attention of the Sanhedrin. The scribes know that Jesus has a considerable following and that he possesses the power to expel demons. It is possible that they were official emissaries from the Great Sanhedrin who came to examine Jesus’ miracles and to determine whether Capernaum should be declared a “seduced city,” the prey of an apostate preacher. Such a declaration required a thorough investigation made on the spot by official envoys in order to determine the extent of the defection and to distinguish between the instigators, the apostates and the innocent

It is possible that the local scribes from
This was like the Vatican sending experts to Roman Catholic Church in Wichita to check in on a demon possessed man who is claiming to be God.
And after gaining some information what do they say? what is the verdict concerning Jesus according to the scribes from the Great Sanhedrin??
Mark 3:22 ESV
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
They state that Jesus is not only evil, but he is possessed by Beelzebul
Beelzebul is Satan himself
They say that Jesus, the creator God, is possessed by Satan
They say that God
The one who reveals himself with fire and wind in the exodus
The one who reveals himself in the tornado before Job
The one who who’s glory and holiness is so intense that Moses had to hid his face
The one who David says speaks stars and galaxies and quasars into existence
The one who turns the evil city of sodom into dust by fire from heaven
This God, they say, is possessed by Satan
This charge is blasphemy
To believe that God is evil
To believe that Jesus is an agent for Satan
This topic of Blasphemy is picked up in 3.28-30
Mark 3:28–30 ESV
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Verse 28 is pure grace
Jesus says that those who blaspheme will be forgiven
That whatever blasphemies they utter will be forgiven
Jesus is telling them that you still have a chance to repent, forgiveness is still available to them because when the Holy Spirit comes he will call all men everywhere to repent.
However, if they reject the spirit, if they say the spirit is evil, than there will be no forgiveness for them.
We see this progression through the NT
Jesus comes to establish his kingdom, and to call people to repent and believe.
Upon Jesus’ death and resurrection we see the kingdom inaugurated, we see the victory being won, and we see Jesus ascend to sit at the right hand of God to rule and reign as King.
And Jesus says that he is going to send the spirit to continue the work of the kingdom, the work of the gospel, through his body, through the church.
And if someone rejects Jesus during his earthly life he still offers grace as the Spirit will come to call them to repent as well.
However, if they reject the Spirit there will be no forgiveness, there is no hope for them after that.

What is meant by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

As explained by the following verse, this blasphemy is the act of attributing acts of healing wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit to be wrought instead by the power of Beelzebul (3:22), and thus deliberately denying the power and greatness of the Holy Spirit [Tay]. It is the sin of attributing the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus to demonic forces [CGTC, EBC, NLTfn, WBC]. This sin is a conscious and deliberate rejection of God’s saving power and grace released through Jesus’ word and act

What is meant by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

As explained by the following verse, this blasphemy is the act of attributing acts of healing wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit to be wrought instead by the power of Beelzebul (3:22), and thus deliberately denying the power and greatness of the Holy Spirit [Tay]. It is the sin of attributing the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus to demonic forces [CGTC, EBC, NLTfn, WBC]. This sin is a conscious and deliberate rejection of God’s saving power and grace released through Jesus’ word and act

This is the sin of blasphemy - that seeing the power of God through the spirit, hearing the testimony of the gospel, yet calling and believing the the gospel is evil, that the work of the spirit and the power of the spirit is evil. To reject the spirits work results in death.
What is meant by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
As explained by the following verse, this blasphemy is the act of attributing acts of healing wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit to be wrought instead by the power of Beelzebul (3:22), and thus deliberately denying the power and greatness of the Holy Spirit. It is the sin of attributing the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus to demonic forces. This sin is a conscious and deliberate rejection of God’s saving power and grace released through Jesus’ word and act.
So here the scribes, by calling Jesus Beelzebul, are guilty of blasphemy against the son.
How does Jesus respond to the blasphemous charge that he is possessed by Satan and doing the work of Satan?
Going back to the parable
Mark 3:22–27 ESV
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
Mark 3:22-
After hearing about what the scribes were saying, Jesus calls them to himself and talks to them in parables.
How can Satan cast out Satan?
Jesus is saying, “if you think I am possessed by Satan, and by Satan’s power I cast out demons - then what you’re saying is that Satan casts out himself”
He then illustrates this point in the parable,
Mark 3:24–26 ESV
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
Mark 3:24-
Starts with the large and works his way down to the individual
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
If Satan is seeking to destroy his own kingdom by casting out demons, than his kingdom will not be able to stand.
For a kingdom that turns on itself is a kingdom that will soon be completely consumed.
If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand
How important is this for families?
Mom and Dad turn on each other when they are supposed to be in unity = destruction
Church turns on itself when they are supposed to be in unity = destruction
Unity is Paul’s number one topic throughout his letters.
In Jesus’ last prayer with the disciples before the cross - Jesus prays,
John 17:11 ESV
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Jesus has come to bring us into unity with the triune God, and we are to be in unity with one another
For how can we stand if we are against one another?
Power of reconciliation
Jesus is claiming that Satan also knows the power of being unified - and if Jesus is empowered by satan and it is by satan that he cast out satan their is no unity.
Mark 3:26 ESV
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
Mark 3:
Here stating again that Satan has not risen up against himself - Satan and his demons are active in the world seeking to accuse and destroy the work of the gospel.
Jesus then speaks a second parable
Again responding to the charge, Jesus tells them what is really going on
Mark 3:27 ESV
But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
Mark 3:
The Gospel of Mark (b) The Charge that Jesus is Possessed. Ch. 3:22–30

Satan is the strong man whose strength is evidenced in the enslavement of men through sin, possession, disease and death; the demons are his servants in this destructive work. He is like a champion who exercises his sovereignty in the sphere of death. Only one who is stronger than he can enter into his realm, bind him and plunder his goods. This Jesus has done. The expulsion of demons is nothing less than a forceful attack on the lordship of Satan. Jesus’ ability to cast out demons means that one stronger than Satan has come to restrain his activity and to release the enslaved. The heart of Jesus’ mission is to confront Satan and to crush him on all fields, and in the fulfilment of his task he is conscious of being the agent of irresistible power.93

Jesus’ statement raises the pressing question of the source of his power. The pronouncement on blasphemy indicates that Jesus’ works are accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is as the Bearer of the Spirit that he stands as the Champion of God in the battle with Satan. In the face of the claim that he is possessed by an unclean spirit Jesus affirms that he possesses the Spirit of God.

Satan is the strong man whose strength is evidenced in the enslavement of men through sin, possession, disease and death; the demons are his servants in this destructive work.
The Gospel of Mark (b) The Charge that Jesus is Possessed. Ch. 3:22–30

Satan is the strong man whose strength is evidenced in the enslavement of men through sin, possession, disease and death; the demons are his servants in this destructive work. He is like a champion who exercises his sovereignty in the sphere of death. Only one who is stronger than he can enter into his realm, bind him and plunder his goods. This Jesus has done. The expulsion of demons is nothing less than a forceful attack on the lordship of Satan. Jesus’ ability to cast out demons means that one stronger than Satan has come to restrain his activity and to release the enslaved. The heart of Jesus’ mission is to confront Satan and to crush him on all fields, and in the fulfilment of his task he is conscious of being the agent of irresistible power.93

Jesus’ statement raises the pressing question of the source of his power. The pronouncement on blasphemy indicates that Jesus’ works are accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is as the Bearer of the Spirit that he stands as the Champion of God in the battle with Satan. In the face of the claim that he is possessed by an unclean spirit Jesus affirms that he possesses the Spirit of God.

He is like a champion who exercises his sovereignty in the sphere of death.
Only one who is stronger than he can enter into his realm, bind him and plunder his goods.
This Jesus has done. The expulsion of demons is nothing less than a forceful attack on the lordship of Satan.
Jesus’ ability to cast out demons means that one stronger than Satan has come to restrain his activity and to release the enslaved.
The heart of Jesus’ mission is to confront Satan and to crush him on all fields, and in the fulfilment of his task he causing great disruption in the religious world
This is what happens when the kingdom of God advances - it causes disruption
Jesus has bound the strong man and has called us now to plunder his house
We go into all the world proclaiming the real champion, the real king, the real ruler and call people everywhere to repent and follow king Jesus
And as Satan’s house get plundered there is a war, there is a struggle, there is discomfort, there is disruption -
this can happen on a physical level where we see Christians dying for their faith
This can happen professionally, where you may not get the promotion you deserve, your business could come under attack as you seek to advance the kingdom of God and plunder Satan’s house
Think about the Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon.
They were fined $135,000 for not baking a cake for a homosexual wedding —this caused a great disruption
This disruption can also happen relationally even within our own families - I am sure many of you have experienced a struggle with family members who do not follow the same king you follow
Mark makes the move back to Jesus’ family in the second part of this sandwich, and we see how the Jesus’ plundering Satan’s house is causing a disruption within his own family
Mark 3:31–35 ESV
And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:
This is picking up the story from the first part of the sandwich where Jesus’ family came to take Jesus away saying that “he is out of his mind”
So here the disciples tell Jesus that his mother and brother are outside and how does Jesus respond?
Jesus takes this moment to teach his disciples how important Christian unity really is.
In doing so Jesus redefines family
Mark 3:35 ESV
For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:
For many of us this morning we don’t have family close by
For Mandee and I we have no family in the state of Kansas
For some of you that may also be the case
Some of you may not have family in your life for other reasons, death, broken relationships, incarceration, neglect etc.
These are painful realities many experience
But Jesus is telling us that the bond we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ is actually a stronger bond than the relationship we have with our biological or legal families.
Look around this room, these are your brothers and your sisters, your mothers and fathers
This is the love and unity we are to have with one another.
We may not be joined by blood - but we are joined by his blood
So we have the redefining of family, of relationships - not only among individuals but also among individuals and God.
And we also see a redefining of relationships in this passage as a whole
To understand how this entire passage is speaking to family we have to understand how a sandwich in Mark works...
Why does mark put these stories together?
Why does mark put these stories together?
Why Does Mark go from talking about Jesus’ family, to talking about the blasphemous charge, to Jesus’ parables and back to family again?
The literary structure of a sandwich is used to tell us that each side of the sandwich is to be interpreted by the middle. And the middle with each side. They work together
So if we were to observe the flow of the story what we see Mark deals with family -> Jesus vs. Satan -> family
So what we have is a discussion around two families - Satan’s family and Jesus’ family
Going back to our list of actors in this story we see a clear separation on who’s side these actors are on
Satan’s side
Family and Authorities
Jesus’ side
Followers
Family
They wanted to seize him - keep him from doing what God has called him to do - this is the same desire Satan had in the wilderness when he tempted Jesus, he wanted to keep him from doing what God called him to do.
vs. 21 his family said, he is Out of his mind - words used to describe those who are possessed by demons
This charge of being out of his mind is what links us to the inner part of the sandwich
The scribes thought he was possessed and doing the work of Satan
The scribes thought he was possessed and doing the work of Satan
Authorities
The irony of the authorities accusing Jesus of being possessed is ever before us
Mark is weaving together a theme concerning the authorities and Satan throughout the book thus far.
It began in Chapter 1 with the demon possessed man being allowed into the synagogue (a house of worship)
The authorities have allowed satan to enter their church
The next time we are in the Synagogue is in chapter 3 with the man with the withered hand - how do the authorities behave?
Mark 3:
Mark 3:2 ESV
And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
3:2 “they watched Jesus to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might ACCUSE him”
Satan literally means accuser
After Jesus healed the man the authorities plotted to DESTROY Jesus
Mark 3:6 ESV
The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
To destroy is to murder - and as Jesus says in John Satan was a murderer from the beginning
So the authorities are here types of Satan, doing the work of satan, all the while claiming to love God
We see in 3:19 that the last apostle named is “Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him”
Mark 3:19 ESV
and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Mark 3:16 ESV
He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
We see in the gospel of John that Judas was indwelt by Satan to do this work, and who did Judas (ie Satan) partner with in the betrayal of Jesus? The high priest - the authorities.
Now this reality of the Authorities and Satan being linked together in Marks mind also sheds new light on the parables Jesus told
don’t read....
Mark 3:24-
Mark 3:24–26 ESV
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
A kingdom divided cannot stand
The authorities had a kingdom they had created claiming it was for God yet it actually was divided as they served Satan.
The Authorities had their synagogues “houses of worship”
Allowing satan to enter into that house is to divide the house and it can no longer stand
Therefore, like Satan, the authorities were divided against themselves and are coming to an end.
The authorites have so divided against themselves that while they claim God as their father, Jesus tells them in that they are of their true father, The Devil.
The authorities have so divided against themselves that while they claim God as their father, Jesus tells them in se God that even though we were all once children of wrath, But God being rich in mercy and love has brought us from Satan’s family into his own family.
Now we, who once were followers of Satan, as Paul said “following the prince of the power of the air” have been rescued by the great King and adopted into his family where now Jesus looks at his people and says,
Mark 3:
Mark 3:35 ESV
For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
And what is the will of God? That we follow Christ
That we believe in him
That we pledge our allegiance in him
That we know him
That we follow him
That we worship him
That we proclaim him
Jesus like wise is restoring everything that Satan has destroyed
Jesus is restoring his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven
Jesus is restoring the house - bringing unity among believers so that it might not be divided
Jesus is restoring the individuals - that we might be fully aligned and consistent followers of Christ.
Jesus has bound the strong man, he has defeated satan so now we are called to plunder his house
We bring the message of adoption to a world of spiritual orphans and offer them the hope of being made new in the family of God!
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