Sunday 6th June 2021
I hope and pray this letter finds you well. We come today to a reading in which Jesus is yet again confronted with crowds. This is because His fame is beginning to spread, and people wish to witness and hear this great prophet speak and heal the sick. For us, being presented with this kind of scenario now seems alien to us. For over a year now, we have been instructed to keep away from others, keep our distance, wear a mask, and ensure that we regularly and thoroughly wash our hands. Soon however, hopefully these kinds of restrictions will begin to ease, and we can start to resume regular contact with others. This last year has been extremely difficult especially for those people on their own. However, as Jesus points out in the passage today, the church community, believers, should treat one another as family.
The passage for today is Mark 3: 20 – 35 and comes near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has entered a house and I presume he has come for a meal with some of the disciples, however, due to the gathered crowd they are not able to eat. The text tells us that when the family heard about this they were enraged. The house was probably that of Andrew and Peter and the reason the family were upset with Jesus was He appeared to be prioritising His work over His own physical needs. They took charge of Him in order that Jesus took a break and presumably rested. We are all aware of what not taking breaks and rest can do to our bodies both physically and mentally. Indeed, I saw a news article the other day which talked of people being literally working themselves to death. Now although it is only early in the ministry of Jesus, already the teachers of the law, the Pharisees, are watching His every move and criticising. This is another lesson for us, it is quite easy to stand on the side-lines and object but we all must play our part in helping the church move forwards, that does not mean agreeing with everything but where there is disagreement it must be channelled positively to work out better solutions and strategies. Jesus then shares a parable with the crowd and illustrates His message about how evil cannot drive out evil and a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Jesus then goes onto say that if a person sins, then they can be forgiven with true repentance. However, if states one sin which cannot be forgiven and that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Now there has been much speculation over what this sin is over the years by the teachers and preachers of the church. I have heard many different explanations, but I have settled on one which I believe is true. That is a total and utter rejection of God, we are told repeatedly in scripture, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23), whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10: 13) and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3: 16), so I believe there will come a time when God will say to us all, you had your life and you accepted me well done thy good and faithful servant or you had your life and you choose to reject me so therefore I now reject you. Which is why it is so important for us all to share the Good News with people so that they can make up their own minds. Therefore, together our task as a church has never been more urgent, firstly, for us to work together and secondly, to ensure that our community comes to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ before its too late.
May our Lord Jesus Christ, the life giver, bless us now and always,