Daily Devotion for Lent
Thursday, February 26, 2015, Day 8
Mark 3:19b-35 (NRSV)
Welcome to one of the most anxiety-inducing passages in all of scripture!
Within these verses, Jesus describes blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. As a pastor, I have counseled with many people who were concerned that they may have somehow committed this atrocity.
It leads to the question, "How does one commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?" We ask this for research purposes only - we would like to avoid doing this since there is no forgiveness to be had if we stumble into it.
Note that this comes as a response to religious authorities accusing Jesus of blasphemy.
As we consider what it means to accept forgiveness, we believe that we receive it through the Holy Spirit. If we are not in accordance with the Holy Spirit, it may be impossible for us to receive forgiveness. So if one is worried about offending God in this manner, it is likely that you are not hardening your heart to the Holy Spirit.
Some would say that this doesn't appropriately address the idea of "eternal sin" and they would be correct. However, it is interesting to note that the death sentence of Jesus in Mark is for blasphemy.
As Paul reminds us in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NRSV)
It seems that death and sin are no longer eternal for those in Christ.
This may be the point of the passage.
Prayer by Thomas A. Kempis, Germany, 15th Century:
Write your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from your love. Be to me a strong tower of defense, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble, and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen.
Photo by MarkBuckawicki (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons