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34: Jesus’ Ministry Faces Mean-Spirited Opposition

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Luke 8:1-3; Mark3:20-22; Matthew 12:22-37

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 12:22-37           Mark 3:20-30

Outline:

  1. Traveling Luke 8:1-3
  2. Trampled Mark 3:20-22
  3. Trashed Matt.12:22-24
  4. Testing Matt. 12:25-29
  5. Telling Matt. 12:30-37

Context/Discussion/Comments:

These passages are both interesting and thought provoking so allow me to spend a little more time on context. My guess is that this discussion takes place about a 1 ½ years into Jesus’ ministry. If my previous speculation is correct, that Jesus’ family now lives in Cana, this takes place in or near Cana in that Jesus’ family is nearby. I prefer to place this in Capernaum, which could make my previous speculation wrong, but no town is mentioned in the text so, in reality, the location is not known. If it is Capernaum, which seems justified in Lesson 36, Jesus’ family could have been visiting as they did after they attended the wedding at Cana.

The Luke passage is very interesting. It was hidden from me until a few years ago and then it just jumped out of nowhere. It wasn’t just Jesus and the twelve disciples traveling, it was a group of people, men and women. And the purpose of the women was to support the group’s travels by their personal wealth, cooking, selling, bartering, working odd jobs, whatever it took to provide for the group while on the road. Consider a group of twenty people in two vans pulling small camper trailers pulling into a campground outside your city. The next day, their leader, a preacher, takes a group of people into the city to minister via healing and teaching to those who would listen. They start at City Hall, visit a central park, and stand outside a prominent church drawing a crowd. Or if you recall any stories from your grandparents, this group would be synonymous with a caravan of gypsies coming to town. The curious and the wary would gather to check out the strangers. So would the civic leaders [Pharisees]. Three women are specifically mentioned. Two could have been gentiles. Perhaps the other women were wives. We know little about the families of the disciples except for Peter, who we know was married.

The authors, Thomas and Gundry, put Mark 3:31-34 at the end of the next Lesson in the chronology. It seems that Jesus’ family was aware, perhaps even summoned, of the commotion He was creating. They would have come to investigate and the statements made in Mark 3:31-34 would have been quite natural. There is another passage, Luke 11:14-28, that I feel should have been included as a Harmony Text with this lesson. Part of it is included with Lesson 35.

Now back to the issue of location. What I have said above is in support of one location for the whole text. But that isn’t necessarily true. The first situation of being crowded out trying to eat could have taken place in Cana. The other situation in which Jesus is confronted by Jewish leaders could have taken place in a more prominent town like Capernaum, Bethsaida, or even Tiberius. Again, the location is not important. I’m sure similar situations occurred often in Jesus’ Galilean ministry.

The Matthew 12 and the Mark 3 texts are the most important. The crowds bring Jesus a demon-possessed, deaf, and mute individual for healing. They know Jesus can heal and He has done it before. But this man has three infirmities so in a way they are testing Jesus to see how much power He really has. Jesus does heal the man and the people consider the fact that this is truly the Messiah, the Son of David. This disturbs the Pharisees because they see Jesus doing and saying things that will turn people away from following their lead and instead, turn to follow Jesus.

Therefore, they claim His power comes from Beelzebub and not from God. Jesus immediately begins to test their reasoning by giving two examples of a house divided and someone coming to rob a house without first tying up the owner. He is really saying “think clearly because what you say does not make sense”. Evidently they even claimed or had the power to cast out demons. This made their reasoning even more suspect.

Jesus finally tells the truth in a very black and white manner. You are either with Jesus or against Him. He is asking them to look at the facts, look at the flaws in their reasoning, and make up their mind. He, Jesus, is able to forgive all our sins except where we blaspheme the Holy Spirit; that is where we see the handiwork of God revealed [Jesus] and we do not accept it[Him] as such but even go so far as to attribute it[Him] to Satan. This is called the Unforgivable Sin. That Sin is our failing to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God when He is standing before us, revealed to us by His Holy Spirit. We would rather recognize and acknowledge Jesus as coming from Satan instead of from God. We can not straddle the fence. We are either for Him or against Him. We either bear good fruit or we bear bad fruit. We will all give an account before Him and it will be based on who we said Jesus is. Our words will have either redeemed us or condemned us.

Look at the facts. Jesus is the Son of God. Acknowledge Him before your fellow man. Place your faith in Him and follow Him. He is our Savior. There is no other. We are either for Him or against Him. It’s that clear. It’s that simple. It’s that telling.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Opposition to the plain truth can easily become ugly and unreasonable.
  2. Look at the facts concerning Jesus and make a decision as to who you will follow.
  3. Ministry requires support and involves training and traveling. We must go to the people and/or the people must come to you. Ministry is done face to face.
  4. Your closest family members will question what you are doing when people demand more and more of your time. Keep your focus. Jesus Christ wants to be head of your family.
  5. There is jealousy in ministry. People do not encourage others who are more successful than they. Watch out. Support all who are doing ministry in the name of Jesus.
  6. Beware that jealousy may cause you to make bad decisions regarding your future. Look at the facts, use your brain, and praise God for His miraculous power.
  7. The worst decision we can make is to review the facts and reject Christ, the one who is able to forgive our sin and reconcile us with God.
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Jesus’ Ministry Faces Mean-Spirited Opposition

Major Text: Luke 8:1-3; Mark3:20-22; Matthew 12:22-37

Harmony Texts: Matt. 12:22-37 Mark 3:20-30

Outline: I. Traveling Luke 8:1-3

II. Trampled Mark 3:20-22

III. Trashed Matt.12:22-24

IV. Testing Matt. 12:25-29

V. Telling Matt. 12:30-37

Context/Discussion/Comments:

These passages are both interesting and thought provoking so allow me to spend a little more time on context. My guess is that this discussion takes place about a 1 ½ years into Jesus’ ministry. If my previous speculation is correct, that Jesus’ family now lives in Cana, this takes place in or near Cana in that Jesus’ family is nearby. I prefer to place this in Capernaum, which could make my previous speculation wrong, but no town is mentioned in the text so, in reality, the location is not known. If it is Capernaum, which seems justified in Lesson 36, Jesus’ family could have been visiting as they did after they attended the wedding at Cana.

The Luke passage is very interesting. It was hidden from me until a few years ago and then it just jumped out of nowhere. It wasn’t just Jesus and the twelve disciples traveling, it was a group of people, men and women. And the purpose of the women was to support the group’s travels by their personal wealth, cooking, selling, bartering, working odd jobs, whatever it took to provide for the group while on the road. Consider a group of twenty people in two vans pulling small camper trailers pulling into a campground outside your city. The next day, their leader, a preacher, takes a group of people into the city to minister via healing and teaching to those who would listen. They start at City Hall, visit a central park, and stand outside a prominent church drawing a crowd. Or if you recall any stories from your grandparents, this group would be synonymous with a caravan of gypsies coming to town. The curious and the wary would gather to check out the strangers. So would the civic leaders [Pharisees]. Three women are specifically mentioned. Two could have been gentiles. Perhaps the other women were wives. We know little about the families of the disciples except for Peter, who we know was married.

The authors, Thomas and Gundry, put Mark 3:31-34 at the end of the next Lesson in the chronology. It seems that Jesus’ family was aware, perhaps even summoned, of the commotion He was creating. They would have come to investigate and the statements made in Mark 3:31-34 would have been quite natural. There is another passage, Luke 11:14-28, that I feel should have been included as a Harmony Text with this lesson. Part of it is included with Lesson 35.

Now back to the issue of location. What I have said above is in support of one location for the whole text. But that isn’t necessarily true. The first situation of being crowded out trying to eat could have taken place in Cana. The other situation in which Jesus is confronted by Jewish leaders could have taken place in a more prominent town like Capernaum, Bethsaida, or even Tiberius. Again, the location is not important. I’m sure similar situations occurred often in Jesus’ Galilean ministry.

The Matthew 12 and the Mark 3 texts are the most important. The crowds bring Jesus a demon-possessed, deaf, and mute individual for healing. They know Jesus can heal and He has done it before. But this man has three infirmities so in a way they are testing Jesus to see how much power He really has. Jesus does heal the man and the people consider the fact that this is truly the Messiah, the Son of David. This disturbs the Pharisees because they see Jesus doing and saying things that will turn people away from following their lead and instead, turn to follow Jesus.

Therefore, they claim His power comes from Beelzebub and not from God. Jesus immediately begins to test their reasoning by giving two examples of a house divided and someone coming to rob a house without first tying up the owner. He is really saying “think clearly because what you say does not make sense”. Evidently they even claimed or had the power to cast out demons. This made their reasoning even more suspect.

Jesus finally tells the truth in a very black and white manner. You are either with Jesus or against Him. He is asking them to look at the facts, look at the flaws in their reasoning, and make up their mind. He, Jesus, is able to forgive all our sins except where we blaspheme the Holy Spirit; that is where we see the handiwork of God revealed [Jesus] and we do not accept it[Him] as such but even go so far as to attribute it[Him] to Satan. This is called the Unforgivable Sin. That Sin is our failing to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God when He is standing before us, revealed to us by His Holy Spirit. We would rather recognize and acknowledge Jesus as coming from Satan instead of from God. We can not straddle the fence. We are either for Him or against Him. We either bear good fruit or we bear bad fruit. We will all give an account before Him and it will be based on who we said Jesus is. Our words will have either redeemed us or condemned us.

Look at the facts. Jesus is the Son of God. Acknowledge Him before your fellow man. Place your faith in Him and follow Him. He is our Savior. There is no other. We are either for Him or against Him. It’s that clear. It’s that simple. It’s that telling.

Lessons/Applications:

1. Opposition to the plain truth can easily become ugly and unreasonable.

2. Look at the facts concerning Jesus and make a decision as to who you will follow.

3. Ministry requires support and involves training and traveling. We must go to the people and/or the people must come to you. Ministry is done face to face.

4. Your closest family members will question what you are doing when people demand more and more of your time. Keep your focus. Jesus Christ wants to be head of your family.

5. There is jealousy in ministry. People do not encourage others who are more successful than they. Watch out. Support all who are doing ministry in the name of Jesus.

6. Beware that jealousy may cause you to make bad decisions regarding your future. Look at the facts, use your brain, and praise God for His miraculous power.

7. The worst decision we can make is to review the facts and reject Christ, the one who is able to forgive our sin and reconcile us with God.

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