Bible Study Lesson: Jesus and Beelzebub
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.” (Mark 3:20-30)
Similar passage: Matthew 12:22-37
Q. Why did Jesus’ family come to take charge of him? And why did they think ‘He was out of mind’?
- Jesus was becoming very popular
- His claims and behavior were unusual
- He was directly challenging the authority of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. (Authority of Jesus questioned in the temple)
- He seemed like a religious fanatic
- Embarrassment and fear
- overly hectic schedule of teaching
- They might have thought of taking him home for rest and food (He and his disciples were unable to even eat due to huge crowd. (Jesus feeding five thousands)
- His family could have meant mostly his brothers. Since his brothers had not believed in him yet. (John 7:5)
Even Paul was thought to be out of mind (Acts 26:24). Is there a pattern here?
Q. Who was Beelzebub?
- Lord of flies or dung
- Beelzebub is mentioned in 2 Kings 1:1-16 as God of Ekron. (You must read this passage!)
- Satan – Prince of demons (Check out, Angels and Demons in the Bible)
- Matthew 12:24-25: Lord of dung
(Note: “teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem” – Jesus was in Galilee which was north of Jerusalem (Judea). But Jerusalem was the ‘City on a Hill’, so often in the gospels, it is mentioned as ‘come down from Jerusalem’).
Q. What/Why did Teachers of the Law accuse him of?
- Possessed by Beelzebub.
- Driving out demons with the help of prince of demons!
- They did accept the fact that Jesus cast out demons.
- It was beyond the doubt, they could not deny the reality of his miracles or supernatural powers.
- But they refused to believe that this power was from God, because then they have to accept in his claims to be ‘Messiah’.
- Due to their hardheartedness or pride, they did not believe in him.
- Instead they were jealous of his increasing popularity, so they tried to destroy his reputation by accusing him of ‘possessed by Beelzebub’.
Q. How did Jesus answer him?
- Jesus used three examples in his parables
- Strong man’s house
- He used simple logic to disprove their false claims
- Why would Satan let his ‘possession’?
- Satan’s kingdom can not stand if he cast himself out!
- Similarly, house also cannot stand, it is is divided.
Q. How did Jesus show his superiority?
- In the third parable, he talked about strong man’s house. In order to take possession, he first have to tie up the strong man.
- Jesus could only cast out demons, if he first tie up (or defeat) the possessor (Satan).
- So, Jesus was saying, that he and prince of demons are not working together.
- Not only that, but that He has a superior power to defeat Satan and rescue people out of his possession.
Q. Why is ‘Blasphemy against Holy Spirit’ an unpardonable sin?
Blasphemy against Holy Spirit is
- Attitude of disbelief and unrepentant heart
- Deliberate, ongoing rejection of the work of Holy Spirit
- Hardheartedness or stubbornness to deny the work of Holy spirit
- Continually rejecting, resisting and insulting Spirit of God
- It is one thing to deny the Spirit of God ignorantly, but if you deliberately reject his work (despite of knowing his power at work), then you are on very dangerous ground.
- There are many resources available, if you would like to research about this subject.
Q. Why did Jesus declare ‘Eternal Sin’ to the scribes (teachers of the Law)?
- They claimed that Jesus had an evil spirit.
- They described work of Spirit of God as work of Satan!
- Teachers of the Law accused Jesus of having evil spirit, but in return, they accused themselves of an Eternal Sin.
- It reminds us of how stubborn man can be!
- Have you been falsely accused for doing God’s work? Don’t be surprised. You are not alone. (Matthew 5: 11-12)
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