WHO IS JESUS? & WHO IS HIS FAMILY?
But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, but he warned them not to reveal who he was. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:
“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”
Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?”
But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.”
Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.
“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
“So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”
But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
“The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.”
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
This seems to be a big bite of scripture to take at once but there are a couple of clarifications here that are related. The first is clarifying WHO JESUS IS and the second clarifies WHO JESUS’ FAMILY IS. Read through the passage first, then continue with the comments below… I’ll wait.
The first thing we can note is Jesus’ response to what was happening in verse 14. When He saw that the council was meeting to devise some way to do away with Him, He left from there. He also told the people who were healed to keep their mouths shut. Then it seems like Matt takes a left turn when he tells us why Jesus does that. He says that it is to fulfill a prophecy by Isaiah, which he quotes directly from Isaiah 42:1-4, giving us insight into what descriptions like breaking a bruised reed, quenching smoking flax and crying out in the streets are talking about. Most importantly though, this gives us insight into the person of Jesus. Herein is found the overriding objective of these words and events; (and yes, the whole book)
The first of two major clarifications in this passage, 1) WHO IS JESUS?: First He does something that is described by Isaiah: He left town and told His people not to talk. Then some of the same proof of identity that Jesus had sent back to John the Baptist (also in Isaiah 29 & 42 & Psalm 146) becomes a living illustration in verse 22 in the person of the blind and dumb demoniac. Immediately, the amazed people say, “Wow! Doesn’t this prove He’s the Messiah?!” Of course the politicians wouldn’t take that lying down, blindly stumbling into Jesus’ trap-for-fools. They countered with what seems to be a hasty accusation that Jesus drove the demons out by the power of the prince of demons, Beelzebub. This reaction only has meaning if you see that this blind, dumb, possessed man was also an illustration of the actual spiritual condition of those religious leaders. They were infected and by them the infection had spread through the whole nation (Rev 3:17). As quickly as He dispatched the demons themselves, Jesus put the politicians in their place and gave even further support to the people’s conclusion that He was the Messiah.
Now on to the second clarification, 2) WHO IS JESUS’ FAMILY?: Jesus turns on the bedrock of His own identity to point out His true followers, His true Family. The key words are “with me“. “Those who are not with me…. He that gathers not with me…” This defined both those that are His and those that are not.
Then another major left turn! Jesus continues with, “That’s why I say to you, All kinds of sin, even blasphemy shall be forgiven, except for that against the Holy Spirit. You can talk against Me and it will be forgiven, but if you talk against the Holy Spirit it will never be forgiven.”
You may ask, “What does that have to do with being “with Him“? He is using this “generation of vipers” whose mouths reveal the abundance of evil in their hearts, to illustrate what it is to be “without Him”, making it clear that attributing Jesus’ healing power to Satan was not only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit but the obvious “bad fruit” of a “bad tree“.
Bad trees are those that are not planted in (with) Jesus. Being with (planted in) Jesus is the only way we can see the difference between the works of the Holy Spirit and the degradation caused by demonic influence. It is the hardest thing for us to admit, but on our own we haven’t got a clue. We will call wrong, right and right, wrong. Our track record proves we are blind and dumb, possessed by the evil spirit of a world in rebellion against its Creator. Thinking ourselves wise, we regularly choose darkness rather than light. Those verbal declarations of mistaken identity are going into an account and the owner of that account, Jesus says, will pay dearly.
He states clearly that if you are not with Him you are against Him; if you are not gathering with Him you are scattering. The context implies that it doesn’t matter whether you think you know what you are saying or not. So much for sincerity covering a multitude of sins! We indeed can be sincerely WRONG!
Back to #1) Who’s Jesus?: With a patronizing tone and their pride bruised, the self-righteous politicians demand a sign. This may have been a knee-jerk attempt at wounding Jesus’ credibility by putting Him on the spot to produce a sign at their command, but it just plays into His intention to disclose more about Himself. “You evil and adulterous generation, you’ll get your sign!” He says it and attaches it to its historic real-life allegory which everyone in ear shot knew from childhood: Jonah. “The people he preached to repented, so they will sit in judgement on you because there is One here greater than Jonah! The Queen of the South came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but a greater One than Solomon is right here, right now.” The principle that indicts them is the re-infestation, by ever-increasing numbers & depravity of demons, that invades those who act out repentance-ritual over and over without actually surrendering their bodies to be the temple of the Holy Spirit – emptying but never being filled, tearing but never healing.
Back around again to #2) Who is Jesus’ Family?: During Jesus’ discourse, Mary, His mother, and His (half) brothers came to the edge of the crowd and sent word that they wanted to speak to Him. Mark suggests in 3:21 that they were there to take Him home because they thought He had gone crazy. That only adds weight to His reply which is the definitive answer to anyone who is unclear about the identity of Jesus’ real Family. He had been modeling that same example all His life and for the third time that we know of, He sets His mom back on the track.
I’m sure it must have stung a little each time. The first was in the Temple where she found Him at 12 years old, “How is it that you did not know where I would be and what I would be doing?” The second was at the wedding party of a family friend where Mary presumed to push her Son out into the public eye, “Woman, what are you doing? It’s not my time yet.” This third time, she has probably allowed herself to be emotionally manipulated by her other sons to go save their family name. (Jesus had always been a dark spot on their reputation.)
Jesus doesn’t even address her personally, but you can bet it stung when she watched Him stretch out His hand toward the disciples and heard from His mouth, “Behold! My mother and my brothers.” Then came the reminder of what she had known but had lost sight of for a moment, “For whoever is doing the desire of my Father, he is my brother; she is my sister, my mother.”