and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke 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 his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
To me, people’s utter can be forgiven, but if you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, that sin will not have forgiveness. It is a serious charge Jesus uttered, and since it is a very serious charge, we have to take it seriously too. We cannot just take it lightly and casually, whatever sins can be forgiven. But when you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, then that sin will never be forgiven eternally. What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? So I to really reflect on this, what did Jesus mean by uttering blasphemes against God? Against the Holy Spirit is like swearing at Holy Spirit or saying bad things about the Holy Spirit, what is it to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? Just after he said that there’s a little note, and this was what Mark said. Mark said for they had said he has an unclean spirit. The people said Jesus had an unclean spirit. And Mark thinks that because they said that Jesus told them that they blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. So I was reflecting on this. Was Jesus angry? Because the people accused him of being demon possessed or gone out of his mind or were they angry at? Was he angry? So he blurted out this thing that your sin will never be forgiven or blaspheme against all the spirit is a kind of one kind of act that you do. So, because of that act, you will never be forgiven eternally. To both questions. My answer is no. I don’t think Jesus was angry. I don’t think it is just one kind of action or words that you say against all the spirit.
And so that’s what we’re going to focus on today. Jesus cast out demons and he healed many people. He did all kinds of things that we normal human beings will not be able to do. His teaching was amazing. He showed tremendous power of God, so people were quite amazed at this man, Jesus. What sort of man is this? Who does all these things, but at the same time, when you look at Jesus, Jesus not only did heal and exorcised demons and all that stuff, Jesus did a lot of things that irritated and frustrated people. Jesus did a lot of things that normal Jews would not do at that time. Like breaking sabbath, or eating food without clean hands, or associating with sinners and drinking and eating with them. And then normal Jews saw Jesus. He’s supposed to be the leader, but he doesn’t look like the leader. On the one hand, yes, he was powerful. He did all kinds of wonderful things as a leader. He had charisma, but on the other hand, they cannot really accept him as their leader because Jesus was breaking all kinds of traditions. So they cannot really pinpoint, yes this is Jesus. They cannot really pinpoint who Jesus was. They had a hard time figuring out who Jesus was. In other words, Jesus was too big to be contained in their well defined small world. They cannot really contain Jesus. They could not figure out who Jesus was. Jesus was like them also at the same time, she just was so different from them.
Trying to Grasp God
People lived in their well defined small world. We try to define our own small world. In the well defined small world. There is logic and formula that they use to make a judgment, to assess and to figure out. So they had this logic and formula. This is the formula: if you do one, two, three, then you’re a good person, but otherwise, you’re a bad person. If you do these things or you’re a religious person or if you do that, you’re not a religious person and if you do this, then you have salvation. But if you don’t do that, you don’t have salvation. They have their own logic and formula to figure out who the good people are, who the bad people are, and then with their logic and formula, Jesus cannot fit in their logic or formula. They could not really figure out who Jesus was. You know, in the English language, there is understanding and there is comprehending the word comprehend comes from the original word, prehendere and prehendere meaning a grasp you put in your small hand and then you look at it, “ah… now I comprehend. Prehendere”
With Jesus, they could not do that. They cannot put Jesus in their own small hand. And then just look around, turn it around and say “oh, I know this is Jesus.” Jesus was too big to be grasped in their small hand, in that sense, comprehend and understand are two different things. In understanding God. If you try to understand God by grasping it, if you try to understand God, by putting God in your small hands and looking around and saying”, oh, I know this is this God”. If you have that attitude, you can never understand God, my friend. You will never be able to fully understand God because God will never be able to come into your small hand. In the same way, if you try to understand other people with your own logic and have well defined, and already set my mindset. If you try to understand anyone, you can never understand anyone but yourself.
With very fixed thinking, narrow minded fix thinking. You can never understand the world. You can never understand other people. You can never understand God, especially God. To understand God it’s almost like not putting God in your grasp. You’re reaching out and barely try to touch God. You reach out as far as you can. Your imagination and everything, but still you can’t quite get it, but at your fingertip, you feel the sensation of the presence of God. You barely understand who God is, never in your hand. You can see it. You cannot see it. You can touch it. You cannot touch it. There you start understanding who god is. That’s why it’s sometimes frustrating for some people, some people are such control freaks, so they have to have everything in their own hand. And now I understand, but God, you can never do that. Michelangelo, I think he expressed that kind of thing very well in this picture. When you look at it you see the two hands reaching out to each other and does not meet. So try to understand God in that way.
Reaching out to Understand
I think that picture tells us a lot about reaching out with an open hand. The scribes did not try to understand Jesus. They tried to comprehend Jesus. They try to put God in their own hands. They did not try to understand Jesus. They tried to fit Jesus in their small world. As we discussed last week, we try to fit God into our lives rather than us fitting our lives in God. No matter how hard they tried, they could not understand Jesus. You know, human beings are strange. When you cannot understand. They don’t humbly acknowledge their ignorance, but rather, what do they do? They said that he was demon possessed. Here’s an unclean spirit, very convenient way of things that you don’t know, very convenient things to do when you cannot really understand your demonize. Other people who are very, very different from you. Well not like you, they are demon possessed. They are bad. You said, I’m just trying to understand Jesus. They spit out Jesus saying that he was demon possessed. That the attitude is attitude of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. You already have fixed thought logic. Formula and idea, and everything has to fit in there. If it doesn’t fit there, then it’s evil.
Even God has to fit in there. If God doesn’t fit in there, then I won’t accept it. Then you will remain in your own small world and you remain in your sin. It can never enter into the bigger world of God. No matter how hard you trying. So many people have this fixed thinking about themselves, about life. They think I know it all, so they never opened their hearts and minds to the new world that God is bringing to us. That’s why we cannot hear God. We cannot enjoy the world of God. That’s why Jesus kept saying, let those who have ears to hear, let them hear. Jesus was so frustrated because they did not have ears to hear. Can we say hundred percent that life is exactly as I perceive and there’s nothing beyond that. The life you’re living is the best life, can we say 100 percent? We don’t need to change how we are living. We just have to live the way I have lived all this time and that is the best way to live and that is the way to salvation. Are 100 percent sure on that? Then, if that is not the case, what makes us not even consider changes? Is it our stubbornness, is it our pride or is it our laziness? Then we don’t change. We won’t change. If you are not 100 percent sure, then we should change our attitude. Not The I know it all attitude. Not the I know the best attitude. When we were younger. We may might have done that, but as you experienced more mysteries of life, complexities of life, we cannot say that anymore.
As we get older, as we experience more about life, we need to learn the humility of accepting the world bigger than the world we know. They demonized Jesus. It was the most convenient way to do it. But I hope that we don’t do that. I hope that we don’t reject things. There are very different, from what I think we need to open our hearts and minds to be able to receive what Jesus offers. Yesterday, I had a Bible study in the evening. Most of them were in their fifties, and then they were all saying, you know, I want to get older nicely. I don’t want to be a cranky nagging old person. I want to get old gracefully and beautifully. And then they said, I want to be more accepting. I realized that there are all kinds of people and I want to accept them as they are. You will encounter all kinds of different things in your life. Don’t fix life with a small world that you have created. You will become a small person. Whoever is different, whatever is different, learn from it.
When Jesus speaks something very different from your idea of a good life, think about it again. Maybe there’s a truth or there is a mystery there. I hope that we can all be open to the guidance of the spirit. The spirit will guide you exactly in the way you expect because you are not God. The spirit is going to sometimes make you very uncomfortable. The spirit maybe sometimes challenge your thinking. Even the spirit will guide you into the bigger world. When you reject it, that’s blaspheming against the spirit and you remain in your own small world. Instead of experiencing the wonderful world that the spirit provides for you.
All of you are beautiful people. Beautiful talents. You are much more capable, and much more talented than me and I envy you, but you have to be open to the guidance of the spirit and the spirit will surprise you. You can be a much, much bigger person than who you are. Bigger, not in the sense of success in terms of the quality of a person, and I think you can do that as you let go of your fixed thinking and let the spirit guide you in your life. Day by day why don’t you practice that. Spirit? How do you want to guide me today? I will surrender myself. Before, I lived like this, I want to surrender myself and see how you guide me, how you lead me. I want to experience you. I want to experience God. I want to experience the beauty of life. So let us think together with that in mind.