"28 I tell you the truth, all sins that people do and all the things people say against God can be forgiven. 29 But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of a sin that continues forever." 30 Jesus said this because the teachers of the law said that he had an evil spirit inside him. ~ Mark 3:28-30
Today, we return to the gospel according to Mark whose complete name was John Mark. As has already been mentioned, John Mark was present at Gethsemane when the Lord Jesus was taken off to be crucified. Mark was that young man seen watching the happenings from a safe distance. In the book of Acts, John Mark helped Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but John Mark left abruptly, and this created a rift between Paul and Barnabas. I say all of that to point out that John Mark knew failure.
In v.28-29 of today's passage we read, "28 I tell you the truth, all sins that people do and all the things people say against God can be forgiven. 29 But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of a sin that continues forever."
In context, here, the Lord Jesus was teaching the people on the heels of delivering a man from demon-possession, and, the religious leaders of Israel accused Him of casting out the demon by the power of Satan. In His teaching, the Lord Jesus employed a story to help the people to see the reality of what was happening there that day. The Lord Jesus was there to deliver all mankind from the clutches of the enemy, and, to present the gospel of the forgiveness of sin for all who were willing of heart to believe. Failure to do so means no forgiveness of sin.
Many have been very frightened by the words in Mark 3:28-29, and, as someone once said, "This is a passage that ought to frighten the comfortable and comfort the frightened." Some have wrongly concluded that the unpardonable sin is suggesting that the Lord Jesus had a demon, or that the works of God are really the works of the devil. It is important to notice that the religious leaders had not yet committed the unpardonable sin when they accused the Lord of having a demon. Otherwise, the Lord Jesus would never have warned them. By the very words used by the Lord Jesus, we conclude they had not come to that point. But, they were very close. The fact that the Lord Jesus warned the religious leaders makes it clear that they had not yet committed the unpardonable sin.
The evidence that the Lord Jesus was the promised Messiah was mounting up, but, the religious leaders had not responded affirmatively to that mountain of evidence at this point. All through the Scriptures we note that it is the Holy Spirit's responsibility to point us to faith in the Lord Jesus. This is why the Lord Jesus was warning these religious leaders of rejecting the witness of the Holy Spirit. To reject the Holy Spirit's witness of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah is the unforgivable sin.
In v.30 of today's passage we read, "Jesus said this because the teachers of the law said that he had an evil spirit inside him."
The religious leaders were close to rejecting the promptings of the Holy Spirit to believe in the Lord Jesus as Messiah when they accused Him of having a demon. And, if they ultimately rejected Christ, then there would be no hope for them, because there is no basis for forgiveness other than faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. We are forgiven when we believe in Him as our Savior, alone, for the forgiveness of our sin. But, if our hearts are resistant and we reject the claims of Jesus as the Messiah, the result is that there can be no forgiveness of sin for us.
The religious leaders did not conclude that the Lord Jesus was just insane, but, they had to explain the supernatural, the fact that he delivered a man from demon possession. They knew that He had power over the demonic world. In that day, demons were out of the control due to the void of the truth being taught to the people. Since the religious leaders were not in personal relationship with God, their teaching had no authority to turn the hearts of the people to God.
The religious leaders knew the Lord Jesus had power over the demonic realm and over disease. They had seen His miracles, and, this explains His great popularity at that time. But, they knew they had to give some sort of an explanation for the Lord's supernatural power. Their explanation had to be either God or Satan, because those are the only two supernatural powers. And, since they were unwilling to say it was the power of God, which was the logical thing to say, they led the people to think "He is possessed by Beelzebul."
Like John Mark when he deserted Paul on that first missionary journey, we have all struggled with the thought of whether God has forgiven us of our sin or not. We needlessly question this if we have trusted in the Lord Jesus as our Savior. I find it helpful to recall the words of C. S. Lewis, the great English writer, who once said, "When Jesus claimed to be God, there were only three options: either He is God, or He is a lunatic, or He is a liar pulling off a very, very grand scheme of deception." If we have concluded He is God, then we have not one thing to be worried about because the Lord Jesus took our sin head on at the cross and rendered it void in our account.