Mark 3:20-30: Jesus & Beelzebub
I am not sure if this the origin of the term “demonizing”, but it would make a whole lot of sense if it came from this story. Jesus, instead of returning venom with venom, kind of teases them with His response, but adds a stiff warning at the end.
Now it is not surprising I guess for the family to call Him crazy, I mean, He is the step-child. On the other hand, these other dudes from out of town coming in accusing Him of being a demon or the prince of demons even is quite uncalled for. First, He breaks down their argument, but with very pointed change of words. He uses the Hebrew word, Satan (accuser) instead of the pagan demon Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies). This is interesting since they came to him as accusers (and actually were pretty annoying like flies). His argument actually left them with a win-win situation either Satan was in a civil war which would weaken his kingdom or a stronger Man had come along that was going to bring down that kingdom anyway. WINNING! Jesus was sort of declaring Himself a thief in Satan’s house. (A much better thief than Bilbo I think) If you cannot tell, I find this whole interchange quite amusing.
Then, the hammer falls. Jesus gives a pretty harsh warning about calling God’s work demonic. Generally, when we hear about the whole blaspheming the Holy Spirit, we isolate as the unforgivable sin and leave it out of the context of the story. The ‘accusers’ have mocked the works of God and credited His work and His healing power to Beelzebub. Most of us do not like someone taking credit for our work,but when the one taking the credit stands for the exact opposite of your whole being this is more than enough to send us over the edge. Pretty serious stuff these experts of the law are doling out.
As the seriousness of the situation begins to sink in, I wonder how many times I attribute the greatness of God to other powers. Maybe I don’t attribute His awesome works to Satan, I do think at times I may take credit myself for things that I had a hand in and withhold glory due to Him. On the other hand, do I accuse God of being the bringer of evil or difficulty, hanging my head in self pity or shaking my first at Him. I know that in some degree, I often lose sight of the giver all good gifts and confuse Him with that old liar. I do not want to make a political statement, but I will tell you that I have to repent of some of the things I have said about people with different view points. I do not believe that is no place demonizing or disparaging any person or group. Jesus took the high (obviously) and set an example for us. The Good News is that He left the door open for every one of us to recognize the great gift of life that He is offering us. It is our job to keep that door open for those that have not seen it yet and avoid giving them reason to attribute our mean or hateful behavior to a God who knows none of that.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20,21)