MARK 3:23



Jesus had just been criticized by the religious leaders. They said that the miracles that He did were by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. Of course, one of the miracles that Jesus performed was the casting of devils out of people. There was an obvious spiritual difference between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. The religious leaders tried to account for the difference by saying that Jesus received power from the devil. The passage of time would show that it was the religious leaders who were being used by the devil. One thing is true: you are either being used by God and the power of good or you are being used by the power of evil. Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” The next passage in Mark chapter three describes Jesus refuting the arguments of the religious leaders and showing why they were wrong.


The Bible says in Mark 3:23-27, “And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” The word Satan means adversary. Jesus used this word in speaking of the evil one in order to emphasize the fact that the devil is the adversary of God and the adversary of all who serve God. You are either united with God or you are his adversary. The opposite is also true. You are either united with the devil or you are his adversary. If Jesus was casting out devils, then He was the adversary of the devil.


Then Jesus made a very famous statement concerning unity and division. He said, “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” President Lincoln quoted this verse during the Civil War to emphasize why he could not permit the country to become permanently divided. One of the serious problems with America today is that we have become too divided across political and philosophical lines. Unity is important. We can do more united than we could ever do divided. The greatest unity possible on this earth is supposed to be the unity of those who are believers in Jesus. That’s why one of the greatest failures of believers is when there is a church split. When a church split happens, someone was used by the devil to cause a division that should have never taken place.


When Jesus cast out the demons, He did it by the power of God. He was not working with the demons. He was working in opposition to them. Jesus bound the strong man and cast him out, and in so doing Jesus spoiled the work that the devil was trying to do in someone’s life. For those who saw what Jesus did and heard what Jesus said, and then called good evil and evil good; notice what Jesus said in Mark 3:28-30. He said, “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme; But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”


The reason that there is one sin that cannot be forgiven is because; this one sin is what would keep a person from coming to Jesus to receive forgiveness. In order to come to Jesus and believe on Him for forgiveness, you must believe that He is the Son of God who came from God. If someone says that Jesus is evil or His work is evil or His name is evil, that would be to oppose Jesus and His work. These religious leaders said that Jesus did His work by the prince of the devils. In other words, they were saying that His work was evil, and they were denying His divine nature. The people in our generation who oppose Jesus and the name of Jesus are in danger of the same “eternal damnation.” This unforgivable sin is called the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is the One who draws us to Jesus to receive forgiveness. To blaspheme means to speak against. It is the verbal form of rebellion and rejection of God’s call to repentance and faith in Jesus. If God is working in your heart, whatever you do, make sure that you surrender to Him before you commit this unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.


Notice that Jesus said the consequence would be “eternal damnation.” This is just one of the many evidences in the Bible that there is a place of final and eternal condemnation. The ones who go there will be the ones who resist God and say no to His offer of faith in Christ Jesus. God does not want any human being to go to hell. He sent His Son to die in our place so that we would not have to go there. But He has given us a free will. Each one of us must choose individually. What Jesus is saying here in this passage is that there will be eternal woe to the person that says no to God. Don’t go your own way. Turn and go God’s way. Don’t harden your heart. Surrender to Him and His calling. Not only will you be saved from hell, but you will also be given a personal relationship with the Master. 


This close and personal relationship that every believer can have with Jesus the Messiah is spoken of in Mark 3:31-35. It says, “There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Before we look at the spiritual meaning of these verses, we should note that the Bible says here that the mother and the brothers of Jesus sent for him. In other words, Mary had other sons after Jesus was born.


The mother and the brothers of Jesus came to get him. At first, they could not understand how He could leave the carpenter shop for this life as an itinerant preacher. When God puts something on your heart, sometimes even the people who are the closest to you will not understand. Jesus did what God the Father wanted. But Jesus did use this circumstance as an opportunity to explain an important principle concerning salvation and concerning following Him. Jesus said, “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” There is no better relationship and no closer relationship possible than the one that you can have with Jesus Christ the Lord. No matter who loves you or whom you love, there is a more fulfilling, more lasting, and more meaningful relationship possible with Jesus than with anyone else. By the way, true Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. When you become saved, you experience that first personal introduction to Jesus; and then there is much more possible in that relationship as time goes by. The Apostle Paul wrote concerning his relationship with Jesus in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”


If you do not have a close relationship with Jesus, then you have something missing from your life that is very important. You have something missing that is the difference between heaven and hell. You have something missing that is absolutely necessary in order to live life the way that it was meant to be lived. In order to have this relationship with Christ notice the one requirement that Jesus gave. He said, “For whosoever shall do the will of God.” You must desire and surrender to the will of God. Selfishness means to go your own way. If you go your own way, you cannot go God’s way, and obviously God knows what is best for you. Be careful of your own selfish will. Be careful of the stubbornness that will easily rise up within you. An absolute requirement to having a close relationship with the Master is to be surrendered to His will.


The Bible says in Mark 4:1-3, “And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow.” The ministry of Jesus was all about the winning of souls and the saving of souls. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In order for souls to be saved they must hear the truth about the gospel. In order for souls to be saved, believers must be involved in the same work that Jesus was involved with: the spreading of the truth and the preaching of the gospel. That’s one of the reasons that He called the apostles: so that they would join Him in that great work. In order to explain how this process would work, Jesus told the parable of the sower.


Jesus said in Mark 4:3-9, “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”


The importance of this parable is seen by the fact that most of the rest of Mark chapter four is devoted to Jesus’ explanation of what it means. In the parable there is a sower sowing seeds, and there are four different things that result from the seed being sown. Anyone who has planted seeds or who has lived on a farm understands what Jesus was talking about as far as seeds go, but in this case, we must also understand the spiritual meaning behind each situation. Evidently the apostles were not sure of the spiritual meaning, so the Bible says in Mark 4:10, “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.”


Before Jesus got into explaining the meaning of the parable of the sower, He first of all explained why He used parables in His teachings. The Bible says in Mark 4:11-13, “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” The reason that Jesus taught in parables is because by using parables the exact meaning of what He was teaching was somewhat hidden. He was teaching one thing that actually stood for something else. God is a God who hides Himself. No man has seen God at any time. God is all around us. In Him we live and move and have our being, but we cannot see Him. Most human beings are in spiritual darkness. They cannot perceive the truth, and they absolutely cannot perceive the truth until God reveals it to them, and He will not do that until they repent and turn to the Lord.


The word “parable” literally means a placing of one thing beside another: in this case for comparison reasons. In a parable Jesus speaks of one thing, but there is something else related to that thing in a spiritual sense that He is really talking about. Jesus did that a lot in His teachings. He spoke of a normal physical or material or human circumstance, but each of the things that He spoke of actually had a spiritual correlation. It’s as though you can always find a spiritual lesson from any physical thing. Of course, that makes sense because the spiritual came before the physical. If you really understand the physical, then you will understand the spiritual thing that it signifies. Jesus looked at almost anything and saw a spiritual lesson that could be taught. He saw birds feeding in a field and saw the correlation how that God will also take care of us and provide for us. He saw men fishing, and saw how these same men could be used by God to help catch the souls of the lost. He saw a woman drawing water from a well, and He taught her how she could receive living water and never thirst again. And in this great parable of the sower, Jesus thought of a farmer who casts the seed to the ground and Jesus realized that there was a tremendous correlation to the preaching of the Word of God in this world. Next time we will look in more detail at the sower who went forth to sow, and what he sowed was the Word of God.      



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved