Mark 3:20-35 captures a gospel lesson on unity through the reality of division. Jesus is reaching out by ministering to people with real needs. His effectiveness stirs up quite a fuss to the point that He and His disciples are missing meals because of the demand. Both His family and the spiritual leaders of the community are critical of this fanatical zeal that is being stirred up. They say things like, “By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
Jesus, as typical, says a lot in a short response. He points out the logical point that it would make no sense for a demon possessed man to cast demons out of people. A house divided will fall. As I dwell on this it occurs to me that He was not just answering their criticism but even editorializing it. Their critical remarks against Him will lead to nothing but failure for the people of God. No group can stick together and accomplish anything if they bicker. Wasn’t this the problem in the desert with the people who followed Moses? Isn’t this why marriages fail, businesses crumble, and rock band members launch solo careers?
He continues with the stern warning that blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is an eternal sin! Criticizing Jesus and the mission of God is playing for the wrong team. He goes on to say that the true family of God are the people who walk in faith in the way of Jesus. Family is not about genealogy but is instead about a shared mission and core values.
It makes me question myself. What drives me? What is most important to me? Does the mission of God drive all the smaller stories in my life? Do I criticize others that are on my team because they are a little different than me, or are more effective than me? Do I make small things in life into large things because of my hard headed tenacity?
A shepherd and his journey