The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul in Him!” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!”

So He summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rebels against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished!

“On the other hand, no one can enter a strong man’s house and rob his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will rob his house. I assure you: People will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they may blaspheme. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Then His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him and told Him, “Look, Your mother, Your brothers, and Your sisters are outside asking for You.”

He replied to them, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking about at those who were sitting in a circle 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 3:21-35)

Opposition sometimes arises from where you’d least expect it. When the religious establishment that didn’t like Jesus finally tried to explain that Jesus was getting his power from the Devil, it wasn’t much of a shock. But Jesus’ own family did not believe that he was the Messiah, either. While the religious establishment was arguing that Jesus was filled with the Devil, his own family concluded that Jesus was simply crazy.

For the religious establishment, their unbelief led them to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus. They argued that it was really the Devil doing the miracles. His family’s unbelief led them to blaspheme merely against Jesus: they said he was crazy. Blasphemy against Jesus was forgivable—and in fact, his family eventually changed their minds about him. Then his own family joined his true family, the family of God. Where his family’s lack of belief had merely motivated them to try to rescue him, it led the religious establishment to seek Jesus’ death.

Be prepared. Doing the right thing, being a good person, making the best choices, does not guarantee you peace or prosperity. In fact, you’re very likely to face persecution.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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