A House Divided

Then he went home; 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.”

Mark 3:19b-35

A house divided against itself cannot stand. This profound statement has three different uses in this passage. The first and clearest is how Jesus uses it in order to show He isn’t possessed by the Devil. Why would the ruler of demons want his demons cast out? That doesn’t make sense. If Satan were to cut his legs out from under himself like that it would mean his end had come. Satan would not do that to himself. Therefore Jesus can’t be casting out demons by the power of Satan. (Side note: the only option left is that He is doing so under the authority of God.)

The second meaning is less clear because Jesus doesn’t really mention it, but we can and often do apply it anyway. A church divided against itself cannot stand. As a church we are a family, as Jesus says in verse 35. We have to stick together and work together. We might not always agree with one another, but fighting amongst ourselves keeps us from doing the work of God. That could be applied specifically to division within your church (which, I can tell you, is a HUGE problem in my church right now, sadly), or to the bickering between denominations.

Denominations fighting with each other is, in my opinion, one of the biggest problems of the modern church. First of all, when we fight with each other like that, we don’t act like Christians. And everyone can see that, and it’s frequently used as a reason that non-believers don’t like the church. How can we be letting that happen? But it’s also pointless. Let’s be honest, who really cares whether we are baptizing babies and confirming teens or dedicating babies and baptizing teens? Are we not really doing the same thing? And, more importantly, are we not all just doing our best to show our love for Jesus? Like I said before, we’re not always going to agree about everything. That’s why we have denominations. But that doesn’t mean we need to treat each other with derision and contempt, or claim the other group “isn’t even Christian”. We need to treat each other with love and respect, and look past our differences to what we have in common so we can do God’s work in the world! We are a family, and we need to start acting like it.

The final meaning is, I think, directed at Jesus’s family. In this version of the story I think Jesus is a little angry at them for trying to get Him to stop teaching. He knows they mean well, but by their actions they could have kept Him from doing God’s will. His house was divided against Him, and I think He wanted them to know that. We can learn from their mistakes too. We need to let our loved ones do God’s will, even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way, doing something “embarrassing”, or any other thing we might want to protect them from. But, how do we tell if they are really doing God’s will? Surely we don’t want to advise them against doing something stupid if it is, in fact, stupid. I think we just have to pray about it, encourage them to pray about it, and make sure they don’t rush in to any big decisions. God will guide them and us if we are just willing to listen to Him. 

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One Response to A House Divided


    What is faith? Faith is believing in something you cannot prove.

    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for andcertain of what we do not see. (New International Version-1984)
    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of thing hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (New American Standard Bible)
    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (King James Version)

    I have faith that Jesus is the Son of God. I have faith that He performed miracles. I have faith that Jesus was resurrected from the grave by God the Father. I believe this because I have faith that the historical record of the Bible is accurate, yet I cannot prove it. There are no living eyewitness to confirm that Jesus was who He said He was or that He was resurrected from the dead, I accept it by faith, I believe it, however, I cannot prove it.

    Atheists do not believe the fact that Jesus was the Son of God or that there even is a God, they cannot prove their unbelief, they accept it by faith.

    Romans 8:24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he already sees?(NASB)

    We have hope we have been saved, but we hope because of faith. We cannot prove we have been saved. We believe that we have been save because we believe, by faith, that the Bible is accurate and trustworthy.

    John 20:27-31 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with you finger, see My hands and put them into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!’29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” …… (NASB)

    Thomas had proof that Jesus was resurrected from the grave. Men today cannot prove the resurrection of Jesus from the grave, they accept it by faith.

    There were more than five hundred brethren, including the apostles, who saw Jesus alive after He faced death on the cross. They were eyewitnesses, they had proof of the resurrection of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)

    Those of us alive today have to have FAITH that the Biblical accounts of Jesus and His resurrection are true. We cannot prove they are true. NO ONE IS ALIVE TODAY WHO WAS AN EYEWITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS.


    NOTE: Atheists believe, by faith, that God does not exists, but they cannot prove it.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com


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