Faith Daily | 25 January 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Three
the strength of all those who put their trust in you:
mercifully accept our prayers,
and because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do nothing good without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in keeping your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 3:22-30
22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ 23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
28 ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— 30for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd David
In Mark’s gospel there is a progressive sequence. As the good news of Jesus spreads and people accept it, and crowds gather around Him, see His healing power and His total power over evil spirits (Mark 3:10-11), there is a similar level of resistance to Him that grows on the part of the Jewish religious leaders. And in today’s passage we see this reach an unprecedented level, they declare that “He’s possessed by Satan, the prince of demons, that’s where He gets the power to cast out demons.” (Mark 3:22).
The way they treated Jesus was despicable and would eventually prove deadly, both for Jesus, and worse for themselves.
But it is important for us to note that this verbal attack was part of the war that Jesus was having with Satan, they were simply following the plan of their father, the devil. (see John 8:44).
Jesus spends a little time effectively refuting the religious leader’s assessment of His work. He shows the absurdity of their reasoning (Mark 3:23-27). But it is His words in verses 28-30 that should have changed them immediately. To respond to Jesus as they did is to commit a sin which He said will never be forgiven, and will have eternal consequences.
God’s forgiving love is boundless (2 Peter 3:9), but what makes this sin unforgiveable is the offender’s refusal to repent and believe the truth about Jesus.
I read this passage with deep thoughtfulness and prayerfulness for what it has to say to us today.
I think we can learn a lot from it, one important lesson is that we must never lose sight of the reality of Satan, and we must never forget St Paul’s instruction :
“Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. Put on the whole of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places”. (Ephesians 6: 10-12 NLT)
FINAL PRAYER: APBA p532 (Collect for this coming Sunday)
through your Son you have called us to repent of our sin,
to believe the good news,
and to celebrate the coming of your kingdom:
teach us, like Christ’s first apostles,
to hear the call to discipleship,
and, forsaking old ways,
to proclaim the gospel of new life to a broken world;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.