1. Do you favor either one of your parents?
2. What characteristics are most prevalent in your family?
Although it isn’t always true we can generally identify people who are of Native American heritage—and proudly so!
In all families, proud parents of newborns look for family resemblances that identify the child as theirs; so too our relationship with Christ identifies us as part of His family. The church directory is a representation of part of our spiritual family.
Most of us have children and grandchildren. Some have adopted children and many times as those children grow their habits and mannerisms mimic their adopted parents.
3. What are some physical characteristics you share with your biological family?
4. What are some ways you try to reflect your relationship with Christ? (Actively involved in the local church. Obedient to the Father. Live by the truth of God’s Word.)
In the last session we saw a demonstration of Jesus’ authority over sin as He healed the paralyzed man and said that his sins were forgiven. That action stirred up conflict between Jesus and the scribes. In today’s session the scribes continue to try to discredit Jesus. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, there was growing animosity from the religious leaders as He redefined the rules and threatened the establishment.
Since last week in Mark 2:12 we see Jesus call Matthew to follow Him; Jesus dining with sinners; questions raised about fasting; a lesson on Lord of the Sabbath; Jesus healed a man with a paralyzed hand; we find Jesus ministering to the multitude; and a listing of the twelve apostles!
Undivided House! Read Mark 3:22-27
Beelzebub: Name for Satan in New Testament spelled differently in Greek manuscripts. The term is based on Hebrew Baalzebub, “lord of the flies.” Regardless of its exact meaning it is clearly a reference to Satan!
Notice Jesus called the scribes over to Him so He could confront their charges against Him!
1. In verse 23 Jesus asks, “How can Satan drive out Satan?” How does Jesus’ introductory question refute the argument presented by the scribes?
2. In verses 24-26 what does Jesus use to clarify His initial question to them?
Read Matthew 12:25-28.
3. What additional information do we find Jesus providing in these verses? (These verses indicate that internal strife would produce chaos rather than unity. To further illustrate His point, Jesus shared another parable. Read Mark 3:27 again.)
4. How does Jesus’ explanation offset the accusation of the scribes?
Jesus’ enemies were specifically charging Him with blasphemy, but in the next verses Jesus refuted the charge.
Read Mark 3:28-30
5. What was Jesus trying to do by using the phrase “I assure you?” (What was about to follow was very serious! This passage contains what is sometimes referred to as the unpardonable sin!)
6. What are at least two truths we can glean from these verses? (People can be forgiven a multitude of grievous sins! There is no forgiveness for a person who “blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.”)
7. What does it mean to “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit”? (Jesus was indicating that God is willing to forgive even the most grievous sin directed against Him personally if repented for. However, nowhere in Scripture is there any suggestion that divine forgiveness for the impenitent is ever granted! In other words, rejecting the wooing of the Holy Spirit to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior can never be forgiven!)
8. How would you explain the unpardonable sin to others?
9. What ramification does this teaching have for believers today?
10. Why do people wrongly assume that certain actions are unforgivable? That they have crossed the line and they can’t turn back? (If you are still feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you have not crossed the line. If your heart has grown calloused, and you have rejected the Holy Spirit to the extent that you no longer feel conviction for sin, you are in dangerous territory!)
The religious leaders were hardening their hearts with the promised Messiah standing right before them. It’s dangerous to attribute God’s work to Satan, hardening our hearts to the Spirit. Surely there were some of the Scribes who at least thought for a moment, like Nicodemus, “Maybe Jesus really is the Messiah” but rejected the wooing of the Holy Spirit’s urging!
In addition to the charges of the scribes, Jesus’ own physical family misunderstood His words and actions.
Misunderstood by Family! Read Mark 3:31-32
1. What did Jesus’ mother and brothers want? (Jesus’ earthly family may have wanted to rescue Him, correct Him, or help Him. Like the disciples, it took them time to understand Jesus and His mission. Perhaps they feared for His life since the scribes’ opposition to Jesus was growing stronger daily.)
2. How would you respond if your family didn’t understand your commitment to following Jesus?
3. How do we make it harder for those closest to us to follow Jesus? (They tend to see more of our worst selves! Generally it is perhaps most difficult to be at our best when we are at home—we like to “let our hair down” so to speak.)
4. What can we do to make it easier? (We can instead show our best to the people we live with—we have more opportunity to show love to them than to others.)
United by Purpose! Read Mark 3:33-35
1. Why could “whoever does the will of God” include Jesus’ mother and siblings? (We know that at least one of His brothers became a believer and leader in the church in Jerusalem and wrote the letter titled James in the Bible. Some believe the book of Jude was also written by one of Jesus’ brothers. But most likely they did not fully believe and understand until after the resurrection.)
Jesus is not being rude or neglectful of His family here. He is simply stressing the fact that our spiritual union is much closer that our natural family relationships. Jesus arranged for His mother’s care from the cross (John 19:26-27).
2. How can we respond when there’s a conflict between what we believe God wants for us and what our family members expect from us? (Jesus was teaching here that the nature of the spiritual family means obeying God!)
3. How does being members of God’s family affect our daily lives?
4. What can believers do to truly live out their relationships as children of the King? (Stay connected to the Family and remain obedient to the Father!)
Summarize and Challenge!
In today’s study Jesus refuted the charge of blasphemy, continued to reveal Himself as Messiah, and expanded the concept of a spiritual family. As believers, we are integral parts of two families.
1. When has your commitment to Jesus put you at odds with members of your family?
2. How did that experience draw you closer to Him?
3. How did it help you minister to your family more effectively?
Having a strong commitment to God isn’t an excuse for not caring for your family. In fact, the more obedient you are to God the better you take care of your family! We should be seeking God’s will in all of our relationships!
Challenge: Write a family member a letter, thanking that person for showing you how to honor God with your actions and words.