How do you explain the miraculous things that Jesus did? How do you explain the incredible claims that He made about Himself?
That was a question that the people of Jesus’ day and age had to ask and answer. Some of them recognized Him as the long-awaited Messiah, even if He didn’t quite meet their expectations.
But then there’s how a lot of other people reacted. In Mark’s Gospel, we’re told how his family saw things:
When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”
And I think that’s understandable. Things were probably pretty tense in Jesus’ family as it was. Just imagine if your big brother really was perfect. It’d probably lead to some resentment and hard feelings. Couple that with Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah and possibly God Himself, and you could easily understand why His family thought He was destined for the loony bin.
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.”
That may seem a bit harsh, but it’s understandable. Jesus has been doing some amazing things: miraculous healing, casting out demons, and so on. How do you explain that? Well, if the events are genuine, then there are really only two ways to explain what He’s doing. He’s either doing it with divine power, or He’s doing it via black magic. The scribes don’t like what Jesus is teaching, so there’s no way they’ll ever even admit to the possibility that Jesus is performing miracles with God’s help. That leaves them only one option. He’s a sorcerer! He’s in league with the very demons He’s casting out! That’s the only logical explanation.
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.”
Why would Satan undo his own work? Why would he essentially declare ware against himself and tear down his own kingdom?
I was the master of this when I was in college. I split my time between two groups: the pre-seminary crowd and the theatre crowd. I’m not saying that the two were mutually exclusive, but I definitely became two different people when I went back and forth between the two. In the one, I was a pious individual, one who would fit in well in a theological discussion. In the other, I turned into a foul-mouthed troublemaker, one who didn’t care who I offended with my behavior.
My house was divided against itself. I had tried to compartmentalize my life, keeping God in one side and out of the other. And it just didn’t work. I struggled for years after college trying to reconcile the two back together. In some ways, I’m still trying to do that.
God isn’t into part-time. He doesn’t want to be kept in one half of the house while the other half is actively fighting Him. A house divided against itself can’t stand.
May your house be unified under Him today and every day.