Jesus, All or Nothing

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 3:20-35

We will be in Mark 3:20-35 today. This is a longer section than we normally take. That’s Mark’s decision though, not ours. These sixteen verses form one unit of thought that he has assembled. Mark is going to be all about how people relate to Jesus here.

The whole section reads like a screen play—storyboards that show scene by scene. And Mark here is editing the video to go from one camera angle to the next capturing together the full story of one part of one day from every camera angle, recording what each member of the cast is doing and how they are responding as we go.

I want as much time in the passage this morning so we are going to dive right in with only a few introductory thoughts. I want to answer the question up front—why did Mark put this record in his account of the life of Christ.

There are two purposes I see it: 

The first, is that it continues to chronicle the rejection of Jesus by His people. This is the historical account of how His own people reacted to Jesus. Fulfillment of prophecies that He would be rejected. It is the historical account of what took place. This included…

  • Full on attack of the Pharisees
  • Indifference of the crowds (the masses, the populous)

The second, is that it guides and directs us as to how we relate to Jesus. Unbelief is sinister. It has many faces and at times is difficult to spot for what it is. These testimonies stand as examples and illustrations that shepherd our hearts.

This passage is all about how you relate to Jesus. I’ve titled it, “Jesus, All or Nothing.” Mark’s point is that you either take Jesus for all He claims to be, or you don’t get Him at all. We will cover the notorious “unpardonable sin” in this text, but that’s really background information to the main story line.

I’m sure it was this passage and others like it that were on the mind of C.S Lewis when he framed up the brilliant apologetic that Jesus, because He claimed to be God, requires a judgment to be made about that claim. He is either Lunatic, Liar, or Lord.

If Jesus said He is God and He is not, but He truly believes it then He is a lunatic. He is irrational and has lost the ability to discern reality. He certainly cannot be trusted then because someone who isn’t God, but believes he is, then that one is delusional.

If He said He is God, and He is not, and He knows He is not, then He is a liar. He is trying to deceive and lead astray. He is like any cult leader who is hungry for power and influence, and lies about their identity. He is nefarious and everything He said must be rejected.

But If He said He is God, He believes He is God and He demonstrates He is God, then He is Lord. He is the sovereign master. He is worthy of complete devotion and reverence and homage. You can’t have a distant relationship with Him and still call Him Lord. The claim if He is Lord is total.

C.S. Lewis said to come to Him any other way is simply patronizing. It isn’t dealing with Him honestly based upon the claims He made. He rules out the good, moral teacher category. Choose your assessment and stick with it. Those are the three categories.

And each one of those three categories is in our text today.

Mark Records Three Ways of Relating to Jesus (only one of them results in salvation)

     1. You Can Soften Jesus (20-21)

          His family misunderstands Him… they believe He is a lunatic

     2. You Can Spurn Jesus (22-30)

          His foes malign Him… they believe He is a liar

     3. You Can Surrender to Jesus (31-35)

          His followers yield to Him… they believe He is Lord

One more comment before we dive in. Today Mark is going to introduce us to a literary device that he will continue to employ here and there throughout his Gospel. It is called bracketing, (intercalation) or more commonly, sandwiching.

It is a story within a story.

It draws attention to a main theme as they are woven together. So today we open with a scene, move to a different scene, and then pick up the original story at the end.

Our passage is long this morning and so we will just read the verses as we go and let the narrative unfold the way Mark wrote it, line by line.

Mark 3:20–35—20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23 And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 “If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27 “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. 28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” 31 Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33 Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”