21.  But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”

“His Own people” here means His family, both His mother and His brothers, as we learn in verse 31.  The Lord’s family seemingly could not believe that the boy they had grown up with was really as great as the people were making Him out to be.  It is likely that He never performed any miracles at home, and so they had not seen the evidence that the people had.  Thus, they conclude that He must have gone insane.  Even Mary is implicated, who should have known better after all that the angel had revealed to her before Jesus’ birth (Luke 1:30-33, 35-37.)  Notice that Joseph, His stepfather, is not mentioned here.  It seems clear that he had died and Mary had been widowed sometime before the Lord began His ministry.  Thus, the leadership of the family would have passed on to the Lord as the oldest son.  Yet His Own family rejects Him as their Leader just as the Pharisees had rejected Him as their Lord!

22.  And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”

Whereas His family concludes He is mad, these Jerusalem scribes decide that He is possessed by Satan himself, and that through the ruler of demons He is driving out demons.  As we discussed earlier in my notes on Matthew 10:25, Beelzebub was the “lord of the flies,” a Philistine god worshiped by some polytheists in that day (II Kings 1:2 speaks of him.)  The Jews changed his name in contempt to “Beelzebel” or “lord of the dunghill” to mock and dishonor him.  Eventually they began using this term for the inventor of false gods, Satan himself.

These scribes were learned men, for few at that time knew how to write, and so we would expect educated men like this to have a better understanding of what was going on than the common people.  Yet these scribes prove that all their learning does not mean anything in the sight of God, for whereas the people accept Him, these reject Him, coming to this ridiculous conclusion!

23.  So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?

The Lord calls these scribes to Himself and answers their silly argument.  Indeed, it made no sense.  Why would Satan cast out his own demons, when they were in fact doing his work?  He had no doubt sent them to possess these people.  Why would he now cast them out?

24.  “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

The Lord further answers the scribes’ argument that He used Satan’s power to cast out demons by wisely pointing out to them that no kingdom that is divided against itself can hope to stand.  A kingdom engaged in civil war has little strength to fight against its enemies.  If Satan was indeed fighting against himself, then most assuredly he could not hope to win in fighting against God.  So how could the Lord be fighting Satan using Satan’s own power?  The words of the scribes were nonsense, and were spoken out of jealousy, not intellect.

25.  “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

The same thing is true of a house (or household) as it is of a kingdom: if it is divided against itself, it cannot stand.

26.  “And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.

If Satan had indeed risen against himself, then he was divided and could not stand.  In fact, if this had happened, Satan would have come to his own end.  We learn of Satan’s end in Ezekiel 28:18-19.  There, we learn that the Lord makes a fire to come out of the midst of him to consume him.  The implication seems to be that he will begin his final judgment himself!  Yet Satan had not yet brought about the events that would destroy him, and the time of his end was not yet.

27.  “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man.  And then he will plunder his house.

This makes sense.  No strong man is going to stand by and let himself be robbed.  First the strong man has to be dealt with, and then he can be robbed.  And that is exactly what the Lord had done.  Through His power He had bound Satan from doing anything to oppose His work.  Then, with Satan bound, He proceeded to cast out his followers.  This is what had really happened, and not what the scribes foolishly surmised.

28.  “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;

The Lord now looks ahead to the day of judgment, and assures these scribes that on that day, all manner of sins will be forgiven the sons of men, including many blasphemies spoken by them. This does not mean that every sin committed is forgiven, for many will be lost.  What He is saying is that every kind of sin will be forgiven.  There is no sin that is so terrible or so unforgivable that it cannot and will not be pardoned by our Lord in the day when He judges all men.

29.  “But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”–

This is the one sin that cannot and will not be forgiven in that day: the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  That sin and that blasphemy will never be forgiven, and the one who commits it is subject to eonian judgment. This passage is the basis for what is called the “unpardonable sin.”  How many can get suicide out of this is beyond me.  The context clearly tells us what the unpardonable sin is: to take the clear and manifest work of the Holy Spirit and ascribe it to Satan, as these scribes had done.  If they could not believe even in the face of such evidence as this, then there was nothing that could be done to make them believe, and thus they were unredeemable.  Many in our day try to get people greatly worked up worrying about whether or not they have committed the unpardonable sin.  Yet since the Holy Spirit NEVER works in a clear and manifest way in our day, there is no way that anyone can commit this sin.  This is not something about which we can be concerned.  If you think you have committed a sin that God cannot forgive, then I have only one answer for you: to point you to Jesus Christ.  No matter what the sin you may have committed, He is the Savior of sinner, and He is able and willing to pardon your sin if you will just place your faith in Him!

30.  Because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

He pointed out to them the unpardonable nature of their sin because of this accusation that they had made against Him.  These men were now marked out as lost, and when the day of judgment comes, they will find their place not in eternal life but in the lake of fire.

31.  Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.

In verse 21 they had set out to lay hold on Him, and now they arrive to carry out their plan.  They do not come into the house to get Him, however.  Instead, they stand outside and try to get Him to come to them.  No doubt they did not want to try to take Him in front of His followers, fearing that they would defend Him.  Instead, they try to get Him away from the crowd so they can drag Him away without a struggle with His disciples.  What they hoped to do with Him afterwards…perhaps take Him home and keep Him sequestered for the rest of His life…we will never know for sure.  Of course, Christ knew their plot, and refused to do battle with them.

The mention of Jesus’ brothers here (his half brothers, of course, since Joseph was their father while His Father was God,) places the last nail in the coffin of the idea that Mary is a virgin eternally.  There is no way that the Lord could have had brothers except that Mary had intercourse with Joseph.  Otherwise His brothers would have had to have been the Sons of God just as He was!  No, Mary was only a virgin until after Jesus was born, as we already had confirmed for us in the book of Matthew.

32.  And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”

The multitude relays to Him the message that His mother and brothers were sending.  Shame on them and on Mary for attempting this ungodly plot!

33.  But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?”

He answers the multitude that relayed to Him the message, not His mother and brothers, for they were still waiting outside.  His answer is itself in the form of a question.  Who are His mother and His brothers, He asks?  This was a strange question indeed, and for these people who did not know the plot that His family had made against Him, it must have made little sense.

34.  And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!

Again the very human actions of the Servant are described, as He looks around at those who are sitting with Him.  Then, He makes a great proclamation: that these people are His true mother and brothers!  The fact is that His family were not acting in the will of God, but rather were trying to thwart it.  By this they proved that they were not His true family.  These people who sat with Him, however, were those who had yielded their lives to Him and sought eagerly for the words of God that He spoke.  Thus, these were the ones who were truly His family.  They obeyed the will of God, and did not try to obstruct it, as His blood family was doing.  Thus, they were the ones whom He would honor as His true family.

35.  “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

This would seem a callous dismissal of His relatives if we did not know their evil plot.  Yet in light of what they were planning on doing to the Lord, this was an appropriate rebuke of them.  He rejected them as His family just as they rejected Him as their Lord.  Yet we know that He did not turn His back on them completely, for after His resurrection both His mother and brothers became His faithful followers (Acts 1:14.)

This is surely the low point in the Scriptures for Mary, and we see that at this point even her faith, so impressive as we see it in Luke 1, failed.  What does this failure do to the concept of “holy Mary, mother of God?”

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