2Sm 5:1-7,10; Ps 89:20-26; Mk 3:22-30
The LORD shows his faithfulness and mercy to his people through his servant David. In a vision the LORD makes known his plan for Israel, the LORD placed a crown on the youth David. With his holy oil the LORD anointed David and God’s hand was with him and God’s arm made him strong. Through the name of the LORD, King David’s horn was exalted. The LORD was his strength and his salvation; King David was given power over the chaos of mighty rivers and of the sea. The LORD makes David strong and this makes Israel strong. The faithfulness and mercy of the LORD toward his people is revealed in his relationship with King David. All the tribes of Israel affirm allegiance to David in Hebron; quoting the LORD they proclaim, “You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.” The Son of David does not get such an affirmation. In today’s gospel the scribes coming from Jerusalem condemn the Lord Jesus by assigning his power to the evil one when they say, “He has an unclean spirit.” Any encounter with power must be discerned. Whence comes such power? Can we trust the one who exercises this power? Such discernment needs the Holy Spirit. Without the help of the Spirit how can we discern the presence and power of the LORD in our midst?
At this point in his life David has received the nearly unanimous affirmation of the tribes of Israel. They recognize a flesh and blood connection with David, and they have witnessed his leadership ability far surpassing that of King Saul. This assembly of the people enters into covenant with David before the LORD and they anoint the one that Samuel has already anointed. At the age of thirty he became king, and he reigned forty years. Soon after the celebration of his enthronement the king and his men set out to capture Jerusalem. The Jebusites ridiculed David and his army saying, “the blind and the lame will drive you away!” However, David conquered the stronghold of Zion, and this was only the beginning. King David became more and more powerful and soon the people recognized the source of his power. The arm of the LORD made David strong, and the hand of the LORD was upon his chosen one. The elders and all the people discerned that the LORD was strong in David. His power was no threat to them. His power made them strong because David’s power revealed the faithfulness and mercy of the LORD in their midst. When first the Son of David, Jesus the Christ, began to reveal his power to heal and cast out demons, the leaders of the people were suspicious. Whence comes this power? Is Jesus worthy of our trust?
At this point in history one would not expect anyone to believe the accusations of the scribes from Jerusalem. From the very city that King David had conquered, the very city where he set up his capital, from this center of power the scribes came to make a judgment on the Son of David, Jesus the Christ. Even though they had just concluded, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and that’s how he casts out demons. Even though they had publicly accused the Lord Jesus he summoned them and spoke to them in parables. He did not rant and rave or get upset and defensive. He told them stories. In this story it becomes clear that no self-respecting demon would cast out demons. Beelzebul would not split his own kingdom in two. Such division would be self-destructive. The Lord Jesus does not have to become defensive because he knows the truth and he is free. He knows that the Father will forgive those who accuse him unjustly of trying to lead the people astray. He has come to reveal that boundless mercy in his dying and rising. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, all the sins of the whole world. However, the Lord Jesus also reveals the limits of God’s mercy. God cannot forgive someone who does not want to be forgiven. This is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is the everlasting sin. The refusal to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into our hearts and breath into the darkest corner of sin and death, within us, the new life of Christ, this is the sin unpardonable. Simply, we do not want to be pardoned. Simply, we do not have the humility to receive what we do not deserve, the unconditional love and forgiveness of the One who first loved us. The LORD loves us in just this way and he cannot love us more and he will not love us less. The LORD loves us without hesitation and without regret. This is the love that rescues, heals and saves us forever.