In today’s passage, Jesus shows us the importance of submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit and doing His will. Continued opposition and resistance to the work of the Holy Spirit is dangerous because it is a warning sign that a person might be lost and without Christ’s forgiveness.
The Text (Mark 3:28-35)
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— 30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
The sin Jesus discusses in verses 28-31 has been called the “unpardonable sin.” Jesus’ critics had been calling His work in casting out demons as being the work of Satan rather than the work of God. This showed that their hearts must have been very hard and evil. To see the good and perfect work of God’s own Holy Spirit and call it the work of the devil showed a dangerous level of spiritual darkness in their souls. It is hard to imagine exactly how this unpardonable sin is committed today. However, the point seems to be that if a person continually resists the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and keeps refusing to come Christ for forgiveness, his or her heart may become so hard that he or she is no longer capable of hearing His call for salvation.
The second half of this passage actually builds on this idea by showing that instead of resisting the Holy Spirit’s work, Jesus’s true disciples will submit to Him in obedient faith. Jesus’ family again enters the picture. They seem to still be trying to stop His ministry, to get Him to settle down and stop causing controversies with His miracles and convicting messages. Jesus responds by saying that His human family (His physical relatives through Joseph and Mary) are not as important as His spiritual family (His disciples). As He will later challenge His disciples more directly, Jesus is saying here that obeying God’s will must be the top priority for everyone in the kingdom of God, requiring us to love God more than our earthly families.
If you are worried that you have committed the unpardonable sin, that is a good sign that you haven’t. This strong teaching by Jesus should be a warning to us to stay sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. However, if you know that you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, then this passage is not directed at you. Just keep on walking with Jesus and trusting in His grace and mercy each day. The people who should be concerned by this passage are those who do not care about hearing and obeying God’s voice. The longer that a person resists the Spirit’s call for salvation, the harder it becomes for that person to get saved. Recent research shows that in the United States, between the ages of 5-13 there is a 32% chance that a person will accept Christ. From ages 14-19, that chance falls to just 4%, and from age 20-death, the chance is only 6%. The human heart that refuses the gospel grows harder and harder with sin as a person ages. That is why it is such a big deal that we had so many of you get saved this past spring! Middle school is a critical time when students’ hearts are mature enough to understand the concept of surrendering control of their lives to Christ but still soft enough to receive the gospel in faith and repentance. We are praying for your hearts to remain soft and surrendered to the sanctifying work of God’s Holy Spirit this coming school year.