Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for September 17

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By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile


Mark 3:20–30

Skeptics (20–22)          

While Jesus went to a house for a meal, a crowd gathered around Him, so much that He and the disciples couldn’t even eat. The crowd seemed to show no regard for the disciples and only were concerned with their own desires, even though they may have been sincere.

We need to remember this when we ignore others to push our own agendas. This is often seen by those in ministry who have families of their own but are hounded by parishioners with no regard for the pastor’s family.

This passage also points out how when one begins to follow Jesus, the family is often one of the main roadblocks. This is most evident in areas where Christianity is illegal and following Jesus often means forfeiting your job, status and even life. But even in Western countries, following Jesus is often met with skepticism, doubt and even derision.

Many times, even Christian family members try to dissuade following Jesus “too radically” because of a concern for safety.

While God gives us family, and we are to honor our parents, loyalty to Christ comes first.

Strong Man? (23–27)

The religious leaders of the day confronted Jesus and accused Him of being demon possessed. It seems that the Pharisees and Sadducees did not like the people turning to this “unlearned” Jewish man, likely due to jealousy or even a belief that He was incorrect in His teaching.

To try to undermine Jesus’ ministry, they accused Him of driving out demons by the power of the devil. Jesus retorted that it made no sense that the devil would remove his own henchmen.

Jesus points out that it requires one stronger than the devil to remove Satan. Jesus is the one who can remove the demons because He is God.

Many Christians fear that demons can harm them or indwell them via possession. However, since the Holy Spirit resides in believers (1 Cor. 3:16), there is no way Satan can overpower Him because the Holy Spirit is God; therefore, Christians cannot be possessed by a demon.

Warning (28–30)

Because of the hardness of the hearts of the religious leaders, Jesus warned them of the unpardonable sin. Jesus promises to forgive every sin committed with the exception of this one sin. Much ink has been written on this topic, and many Christians wonder if they have committed it or if they can commit it.

This scenario shows the unpardonable sin as a rejection of Jesus’ miracles as coming from God. In essence, this is a rejection of Jesus as God and rejecting Him as Savior. Of course this is unpardonable.

None who reject Christ will come to Him for forgiveness since they do not believe He is who He says He is. Therefore, at the root of the unforgivable sin is not asking to be forgiven.

Since a Christian is one who, by definition, has repented, confessed their sins and accepted Christ as Savior, we cannot be guilty of the unpardonable sin since we have already accepted Christ’s testimony.

Knowing this, we need to be praying for our unsaved acquaintances so that they will come to recognize who Christ is and experience His salvation, have abundant life now and not face an eternity separated from God.