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Mark’s first-century biography – page 11

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.” 

Jesus (prior to AD 30) has just appointed 12 “sent-out-ones” and his family has taken this as a sign of being “out of his mind” – probably because the key number 12 was thought to be indicative of political rebellion by descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel (known then and today as Jews) against Rome. 

The “scribes” who came down from Jerusalem were a key part of Jerusalem’s “the-great-and-the-good”. Many were lawyers with civil-servant type roles. Their rational conclusion about Jesus was not “out of his mind” but something much more serious.
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.” 

So, Jesus called these “scribes” and explained to them “in parables” (using parallels) that “Satan” (the original Greek word means “adversary”) will never ever be able to rid the world of “Satan”. Looking at and listening to world news today, it is indeed abundantly clear that people and groups are adversaries of one another. Conflict – division – sums up us human beings, at every level. 

And this “division”, this “adversarial” human nature comes from somewhere. From “the” adversary? If so, would this architect and perpetrator of a divided realm (“kingdom”) want to throw out himself from this world he has ruined? Not willingly. Definitely not. 

‘My Economic, Social and Cultural Human Rights are inalienable. They must be enforced upon other people – by law and by force and even by war, if necessary.’ (Anon.) 
“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.”

This “parable” is rather cryptic. Who is this “strong man”? Is it “Satan”, “the adversary”? Is his “house”, his “kingdom” (his realm here on earth) divided? If so this “strong man” is the one who has initiated “division” among all of us human beings by drawing us to do everything in our power to foster our interests.

If so, who is going to “bind this strong man” and bring all human conflict (of every kind) to an end? Who is going to “enter” Satan’s “house” and “plunder” from him those whom he has enslaved into conflict - those whom Satan regards as "his goods"? How will that be done?

“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.”

If human beings are to be “plundered” from the “house of the adversary” all of their adversarial deeds and thoughts and orientations need to be forgiven. Every single one of them. Jesus says to them that this, truly, will definitely be possible – will take place. Even Jeffery Epstein (who committed suicide in jail a few days ago) could have been forgiven all (yes, all) his sins and all his railings against the LORD Jesus Christ that he may have spoken.

But Jeffery Epstein no longer has that opportunity. He committed suicide whilst still (as far as we know) regarding the mercy freely offered by the “Most High”, by Jesus, as “unclean”. For anyone, that, Jesus said, would be to remain guilty of “an eternal sin”.

 ‘Depth of mercy, can there be/ mercy still reserved for me? / Can my God his wrath forbear / me the chief of sinners spare?’ (Charles Wesley, 1740)
And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

So… It’s not only through forgiveness that Jesus “plunders” from the “adversary”. It’s by bringing the forgiven – the sinners and blasphemers – into his family – the family of the Most High, the one who gave his all at the cross.

Sinner Syvret

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