This post is one in a series of reflections for Lent. I invite you to go back and read the previous reflections.
While Jesus has been ministering to the people, the demon possessed seem to seek him out. As he is ministering he has been casting out demons. The demons recognize him as the Son of God, but he orders them into silence. Jesus and the disciples begin to minister inside a house. It is so crowded, that they can't even eat. Teachers of the law come from Jerusalem to accuse Jesus. They state that he must be possessed by the devil. It is through the power of Satan, that he is able to cast out demons. Jesus calls them over to him, and he begins to teach them.
First, he says that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. How could he use the power of Satan to cast out Satan? He further says that a house divided against itself will fall. Satan simply would not cast out Satan. Satan cannot be divided. He tells a story of someone robbing a strong man. In order to rob a strong man, someone would need to tie him up, before they could rob him. Satan has the power to possess a person. In order for someone to be able to cast out a demon, then that person would have to be stronger than the demon. It is interesting that Jesus has caused the demons to be silent about his identity, but here he is being very deliberate of telling the teachers of his identity. He is telling them that he is more powerful than Satan.
He makes a statement to them about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The teachers of the law had accused Jesus of having an unclean spirit. Jesus had been anointed with the Holy Spirit. When they said that he had an unclean spirit, then they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. They have said that the Holy Spirit is evil. This is a very serious sin. Jesus even says it is an eternal sin. He tells them that God can forgive any sin, but the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
What can we draw out of this for our everyday? It is very easy to see the evil that surrounds us, and get discouraged. This story should give us hope. The devil is not all-powerful. Only God possesses all power. God is a greater force, than the devil. We shouldn't look at the devil as the opposite of God. He is so much lower than that. Later in the scripture we will be told that greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world. Also, if we read the book of Job, then we see that God places boundaries around the devil. He is only able to operate within the bounds of God's permission. God tells the devil he can do anything he wants to Job, but do not attack his body. We can take hope in knowing, that although the world is a wicked place, and the vilest things occur, Jesus will when in the end. This is but a temporary state of affairs. So, we, along with all of creation, look forward to that day when Christ will return to make all things right. When Christ will return everything to state it was intended to exist. That is our hope and the promise of God.