Second Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon starts at 14:42 in the recording
Gospel: Mark 3:20-35
20and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ 22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ 23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
28 ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— 30for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’
31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ 33And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’
Afterthoughts: Seeing the Unseen
I shared about how making way for something new can cause rifts.
Change is hard.
Sometimes we don’t see the need.
Sometimes we don’t understand the need.
Sometimes, we simply don’t see.
In the Gospel reading,
Jesus is clearly making way for a new path to Godly living.
· He challenges the notion of belonging.
Throngs of people were crowding around Jesus to get something from Him (mostly healing). People were always around Him to validate themselves and get what they thought they needed.
Ultimately, they wanted to be a part of something bigger (Jesus knows this). This is seen in the invitation to become a “brother or sister” to those who pursue manifesting God’s will.
· He challenges the family.
Family, as I stated Sunday, is important.
In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day, it was really important.
Family gave status and a ready-made community.
Family also gave access, which the family of Jesus was trying to capitalize on in the Gospel reading.
Jesus is being mobbed and the family is trying to get to him because they are worried about what the attention will bring for Him (and for them). Jesus challenges the notion of community and access (through families) by reframing the concept of family (“Who is my mother and my brothers?”).
Being a part of a family, and more importantly the access and community inherent in it, are now available to those who do the will of God.
No more worrying about status.
No more playing the game.
No more being left out.
Access for all.
Community for all.
· He challenges the religious Power Structure
As is His custom,
Jesus challenges the religious Power Structure
that has cornered the market on all things God.
Jesus makes it clear that He has come to show that the current religious leadership has fallen short and that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
The division is that the people of God and their leaders had forgotten what God had called them to and were missing the mark.
Jesus is making way for the new and communicating that to them.
The Jews were threatened by Jesus.
He was drawing crowds.
He was healing people.
He knew the Scriptures.
He was so threatening that they accused Him of being possessed.
This brought a stern rebuke in the Gospel reading,
"Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
To sum up the rebuke,
Don’t call what God is doing evil.
They were saying that God (in the Son) was possessed.
It is like God’s rebuke of Peter in Acts when Peter refuses to follow God’s command to eat from what God has provided by saying it is “unclean.”
God rebukes Peter by saying,
“Do not call anything unclean which I have made clean.”
Religious power is not meant to be held.
The grace that God gives is meant to freely given.
I know that this is not a common experience sometimes,
But it is God’s intention.
Jesus is making way for the ministry of the Holy Spirit
in the life of all who are a part of the community of God.
But this new way is an internal focus and not an external focus.
Let me explain by looking at the end of the Epistle reading from Sunday.
Paul writes to the Corinthians,
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Our physical bodies have a lifespan.
The earthly tent we occupy is not eternal.
Even though we do all we can to maintain it,
It will, eventually, be destroyed.
I had the experience this week of anointing someone who had died.
It was their body.
But that body was destroyed.
It was dead.
The earthly tent was not inhabitable any longer.
But Paul speaks of this “building from God, a house made not with hands, eternal in the heavens” as a way of describing what Jesus makes way for.
It can be confusing to read the structure of this sentence for understanding.
The “building from God” is in contrast to the “earthly tent.”
It would be easy to assume that the building referred to would be our mansion in the heavens.
Like when Jesus says,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”John 14:1-4
Our own space.
But, it is more plausible to understand this
as the home we have in the Spirit of God.
The spiritual life versus the earthly life.
The life focused on the ways of the world and all the struggle that it entails versus the life focused on the love of God shown through God’s grace and mercy.
The temporal versus the eternal.
This physical life versus the eternity of God.
It is an internal focus on the soul guided by the Spirit.
One intent on shedding the burdens of this world that demand and make promises that can never be met.
One focused on understanding the abundance of life spoken of by Jesus as our Good Shepherd.
just because this is an internal focus
does not mean that there are not external ramifications.
It’s just that we get away from the doing and focus on the being.
Then, out of the being comes the manifestation of that focus;
A life redeemed that has made way for the new.
A new way of thinking.
A new way of seeing.
A new way of being.
Where we leave behind the ways of the world that cannot fill our soul, and say yes to the empowerment of the Spirit in our lives.
Where we jettison the desire to prove ourselves to others and say yes to the unconditional love of our loving Father.