June 6, 2021 – 2nd Sunday After Pentecost: Mark 3:20-35
May 14, 2021 by Rev. Dr. Neal Presa
There were three spirits present in today’s Gospel lection. Here, I’m speaking about the zeitgeist, the overall sense of ethos/pathos in the air. There was the group described in verse 21 who were thinking and feeling that Jesus was out of his mind, attributing his healing and authoritative teaching and wonder-working demonstrations of divine power and forgiveness to psychology. His family grew understandably concerned over the growing crowds surrounding him, throngs of people that prevented him or anyone else from eating; so concerned was Jesus’s family that they tried to restrain him from doing any more healing or feeding. This is the kind of spirit that either just wants him to heal and feed, ad infinitum, taking the attitude of “what can Jesus do for me lately? And what else can he keep doing?” or “Is he crazy for doing what he does?”
Then there was the second kind of spirit – a bad spirit that not only casts suspicion on Jesus’s intentions and actions, but attributes evil to Jesus. This is what is called “blaspheming the Spirit” or what The Message translation describes as: “But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” This is the kind of spirit that says: “Jesus is too good to be true, he must be not true, not good, and therefore evil.”
Then there’s the third kind of spirit. It’s the kindred spirit of the kin-dom. See verse 35: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
In Spirit-time, in tandem with the resurrection, all the truth about Jesus Christ and who we are disclosed. Jesus is not crazy. Jesus desires for us to flourish, to enjoy and delight in the love of God and the God of love. Jesus is not evil and, in fact, conquers evil itself; his resurrection upends all powers, principalities, and spirits which seek to contradict and contravene God’s will and ways. And Jesus calls us and makes us siblings in the faith, a community of followers of Jesus. How did the early worshipping communities know and believe this? How did succeeding generations of Christians believe this? How did you and I come to believe and trust in this? Because in the fulness of time, in Spirit-time, it was disclosed to us – to you and me. And in Spirit-time, all will know Jesus is Lord, and we all belong to God and to one another.