Today we read about more attacks against Jesus’ ministry. He is being called insane at best or a servant of Satan at worst for His work in casting out so many demons. Jesus reminds us that He works for God against the forces of Satan, which means that today our evangelism and personal growth in Christ is still a matter of spiritual warfare
The Text (Mark 3:20-27)
20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”
23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. 27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
Opposition to Christ’s ministry comes now from His own family and childhood friends. Thus, “His own people” want Jesus to stop preaching and teaching and doing miracles. They try to restrain His activities, hoping that Jesus will go back to being the simple carpenter. Meanwhile, some religious leaders come from Jerusalem to Galilee just to attack Jesus. They claim that Jesus’ power to cast out demons comes from Satan, who was also called “Beelzebub,” or “The Lord of the Flies,” in Bible times. These scribes apparently also want Christ to stop His ministry activities, especially His war against the demons.
Jesus responds to these attack by using some analogies to show that their arguments are illogical. Why would Satan want to help Jesus to cast out his own demons? Satan would want to maintain control of enslaved people; he would never want to allow Jesus to set souls free from demonic possession or influence. Satan is the enemy of God and people. The reason why Jesus has to cast out the demons to heal some people is explained in verse 27: He has to first bind the strong man (the demon/Satan) before he can enter the house (the afflicted person who needs to be saved).
The gospel of Mark records a lot of spiritual warfare. We have already seen several instances of Jesus confronting angry and scared demons and casting them out by the power of God. We will see more of these examples as we keep studying Mark. Notice that the battles are always fought over control of human beings, their bodies and minds and souls. The time of Christ’s earthly ministry was certainly an intense period of spiritual warfare because Satan was trying to stop God’s plan of salvation for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Satan failed and Jesus won the victory for all who would believe in Him!
But the cross did not end the battle for human souls. While Satan is defeated, he still works through his demons today to try to keep lost people from placing faith in Christ and being saved and saved people from enjoying abundant life in Christ. Think about how often the epistles (the letters to the churches that make up the end of the New Testament) describe saved people as having been rescued from the kingdom of darkness or Satan and delivered into the kingdom of God (check out Colossians 1:13-14 and Ephesians 2:1-4 for examples). In Ephesians 6:10-20), Paul tells us that our struggles as Christians are not “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We must realize that trying to win people to Christ and trying to walk with Christ in joy ourselves are spiritual efforts that will face opposition from the forces of our enemy. That is why we need to stay in the Word of God and prayer each day. We need the power of Christ to be victorious over evil, and we access that power as we stick close to Him. Praying for spiritual victories in Jesus’ name for you today.