Mark 3:20-30 ESV – Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin“– for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
(I know you love the Red-Letter)
Jesus returns to His hometown and returns to a ticker-tape parade. Oh no, wait, that’s some other story. Here, the Hero of Mankind is called Satan. The religious folk of the day claim that He can only cast out demons because He is the prince of demons. Can you say “Jealous?”
Jesus uses a little logic here and shows them that if He really was Satan, then He would be damaging Himself. And then He lays down the big one: every sin will be forgiven…unless you blaspheme the Holy Spirit. What does that even mean?
Well, the Bible clearly tells us why He said it – “they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.'” But what does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Is it something we say or do? Could I accidentally do it? What happens if a Satanist tricks me into saying something blasphemous?
Although there has been (and I’m sure still is) quite a bit of controversy around what specifically this sin is, I’m going to take the relatively simple interpretation: blaspheming the Holy Spirit is denying that Jesus is Lord until you die.
For most of you reading this, Easter was just a few days ago. For my family here in Moldova, we celebrate this coming week (the Russian Orthodox calendar is different from Catholic/Protestant). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ clears you from any and all sin, and it ensures that you can’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit
The Bible says the Holy Spirit has come to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. To blaspheme Him (to call Him “unclean”) is to basically say that sinning against God is not wrong, the righteousness of Christ is not right, and God’s judgment is not just. Here’s the bad news: all of us blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
Either we think our “little sin” isn’t that big of a deal, or we think that our omission of service to the Lord is really OK. Maybe we don’t really think God will judge us. That is all blaspheming Him. But now to the Good News: Easter is the celebration of salvation.
See, Jesus knew that everyone there was in the same place we are in. If we want to be saved, we have to ask God for mercy, through Jesus Christ. He’s the only one who has lived perfectly and conquered death. And He says that if I have faith in Him alone, I will be forgiven all. And then I don’t want to sin, and I want righteousness, and I’m not afraid of the perfect judgment. Because of affection for the Savior.
He is risen so that even the unforgivable can be forgiven in this life.