And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. — Mark 3:25
For years, slavery was prevalent in the southern portion of the United States. Plantation owners in the South depended upon slaves for their livelihood, while many in the northern states opposed the concept of one human owning another. In 1853, a policy was initiated that was to settle the slavery debate. However, five years later, agitation over slavery had only increased.
During the summer of 1858, Abraham Lincoln was named a candidate for the United States Senate at the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Illinois. As the convention drew to a close, Abraham Lincoln was asked to give a speech. In it, he expressed his concern over the slavery issue. He said, “In my opinion, slavery will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe government cannot endure permanently half-slave and half-free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will all become one thing [slavery], or all the other [no slavery].”
Abraham Lincoln used our focus verse to express to the Republican Convention that allowing slavery in some states but not in others would not work. It would divide and eventually destroy the country. History proved Lincoln correct. A crisis — the Civil War — eventually caused national policy to no longer be divided.
In today’s text, some scribes from Jerusalem had accused Jesus of obtaining His power to cast out evil spirits from Beelzebub, the devil. Jesus answered this untrue statement with several parables the people could understand, pointing out that division brings weakness. One illustration was our focus verse, which states that a home with discord and strife will destroy itself. Jesus went on to say that if Satan were fighting against himself, he could accomplish nothing and would eventually destroy himself.
We, too, cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in God’s church. If we do, the world of sin and the powers of Satan will pull us into their grasp and we will become eternally lost, unless we turn back to God. We must put our all into serving the Lord and walking in His ways if we want to make Heaven our eternal home.
So many people wanted to hear Jesus speak that He did not always take time to eat. His family members and friends thought He was behaving irrationally. They felt he was taking unwise risks by not getting the food and rest He needed. Even those close to Jesus did not understand who He was and what He came to do.
Scribes from Jerusalem had more authority than local scribes. These men knew Jesus was doing great things, and because they could not explain His miracles, they accused Him of working through the power of Satan (Beelzebub) rather than the power of God.
Jesus refuted their illogical accusation by pointing out that if a kingdom is divided, it cannot stand. If Satan were to do away with his own demonic helpers, he would be destroying his own kingdom. The defeat of Satan must be accomplished by the One who is against Satan, and that is the Son of God. Jesus drew another picture, saying that no one could enter a strong man’s house and spoil, or steal, his goods without first restraining the strong man. Again, the logic was irrefutable. Satan must have been a conquered foe, for how else could Jesus be “seizing” his property?
In verses 28-29, Jesus spoke of what has been termed “the unpardonable sin.” Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost means persisting to reject the very One who convicts of sin. The person who does this rejects the only One who can draw him to repentance, and thus loses any possibility of being pardoned.
Verse 31 indicates that Jesus’ family continued to be concerned about Him. Those who were with Jesus said His family was outside the house and wanted Him. Jesus used this example of His brothers, sisters, and mother wanting to see Him for a spiritual lesson. His comment was not meant to be disrespectful or offensive. He wanted those about Him to understand that spiritual kinship is more important than biological ties; eternal relationships far outweigh earthly ones.
Through His example, Jesus illustrated that commitment to God and serving Him must take priority, even over one’s family. Doing His will causes people to become brothers and sisters in Christ, and this family is not exclusive. Obedience is the key to closeness to Jesus.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The opposition to the Son of God
B. The consequences of the opposition to the Son of God
1. The separations of the Son of God
c. Separation from Nazareth (3:20-35)
(1) The accusation of insanity (3:20-21)
(2) The accusation of demonic empowerment (3:22)
(3) Christ’s reply (3:23-30)
(a) Unity of Satan’s kingdom (3:23-26)
(b) Weakness of Satan’s attack (3:27-30)
(4) Separation from natural bonds (3:31-35)
Divided loyalties will ultimately end in dismal failure. Let’s all examine where our true loyalties lie, and determine to remain wholly true to Christ.