5th March, 2013
BRUCE C. WEARNE
Read Mark 3:20-30
Jesus was telling them that the One who upheld Israel was still in charge. Good is opposed to evil, and evil cannot be the source of good. Jesus was not simply in the process of binding the prince of the Ba'als; He was in the process of decisively driving him out of the place he had no right to be!
Go back over this story. Mark tells us Jesus knew His friends were over-concerned. He knew the problem couldn't be solved easily. Those closest to a teacher in personal terms are often the hardest to teach.
So, what did He do? Well, He didn't blow a fuse like we might have done! He solved this tricky situation by continuing His work as a teacher, composing parables which showed up the fake accusations of the religious leaders. In this way He reassured them. He knew what He was doing. The religious leaders were scaring people by invoking the ancient presence of Beelzebub. And so they stirred the hungry crowd who could easily be confused about why they were there. But Jesus had not called a fast.
Beelzebub, prince of all Ba'als, had been worshipped when the fertility gods ruled before Israel came into their inheritance in Canaan. Those who obtained power from Beelzebub could not truly worship the God of Israel. Beelzebub had been driven out. The Lord's oversight of His people was total. And Jesus' reply was simple. The God of Israel had not been bound and is not bound. If you enter a strong man’s house to rob it and carry off his possessions you first have to tie up the strong man. To free people means to break the hold of the one to whom they are subject. Break one owner's hold and someone more powerful has to take charge.
Jesus was telling them that the One who upheld Israel was still in charge. Good is opposed to evil, and evil cannot be the source of good. Jesus was not simply in the process of binding the prince of the Ba'als; He was in the process of decisively driving him out of the place he had no right to be! The One the God of Israel sends to protect His people would not be bound by the lawyers' accusation to justify their opposition to Jesus' ministry of mercy. To allege that Jesus' work of healing and His parables made appeal to Beelzebub was not only a result of their misplaced fear, but to decisively revile the Spirit of Holiness who was confirming and would continue to confirm, Jesus' work in the lives of all of God's people.
And so, Jesus helped these thoroughly compromised teachers of the laws who were confusing even members of His own family by their accusations. He refuted the accusation by encouraging His disciples, reminding them of the One who keeps His promises. This God, Israel's Lord, does not slumber. He will surely bring His mercy to fulfilment in their lives, by confirming the work of His Servant, including the work He continued to do when he returned to His home town, and to confirm the work He continues to do ever since. Jesus' reply assures His disciples that the Holy Spirit's confirmation is as faithful and enduring as God's love. And that is why an act which misrepresents the One sent by God as the teachers of the law had done, was not just some temporary aberration. It was a teaching that henceforth and forever stands under the judgment of the Lord.
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