sermon for pentecost 3 – 6.9.24

+ 3rd Sunday after Pentecost – June 9th, 2024 +

Series B: Genesis 3:8-15; 1 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Jesus the Blessed Burglar”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

We tend to think of coming home as a time of celebration. Bring out the welcome wagon. Throw a BBQ block party. But that’s not the homecoming Jesus received in his hometown of Nazareth. Members of his own family don’t understand or believe in him at this point. They call him crazy. A couple books short of the full Torah.

 

But that’s nothing compared to the Scribes and their greetings. They came all the way down from Jerusalem to say, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”

 

The Scribes didn’t question the fact that Jesus did something miraculous. They didn’t doubt a man was healed and demons were cast out. Rather, they attacked Jesus’ authority to do these things. While Jesus’ family thought he’d lost his marbles, the Scribes thought he was in league with Satan.

 

So Jesus gives them a quick lesson in critical thinking: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.” 

 

The Scribes’ accusation is a logical impossibility. If Jesus were on the devil’s side then he wouldn’t be waging war against him by casting out demons. And yet, that’s exactly what Jesus does. Since his birth in Bethlehem, he’s on campaign to destroy the devil. Satan may appear to be a strong man, but Jesus is the stronger man.

 

No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

 

Jesus reveals his battle plan: bind the strong man and plunder his goods. Jesus the Divine Burglar comes in human flesh, binds the devil, storms the dragon’s lair and reclaims you, his rightful treasure. We’re the plunder the Divine Thief carries off after He’s tied up the strong man. We who were once rebels and sinners are now Jesus’ greatest treasure through his victory on the cross.

 

This is why Jesus came. To free us from sin and death and the power of the devil. To forgive. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter.” 

 

Stop for a moment and ponder the magnitude and depth of those words. How many sins? All. Yours. Mine. The whole world. How many people did Jesus die for? All. How many of our sins did he pay for on the cross? All of them. You are forgiven.

 

Why then does Jesus go on to talk about what some have called an unforgivable sin? What does it mean when he says…”whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”?

 

No doubt this is a tricky verse. But let’s look closely at the context. This whole conversation started with the Scribes accusing Jesus of going to the dark side with Satan.

 

Rather than receiving the Holy Spirit, who fell on Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan, they reject the work of the Holy Spirit by saying his work is the work of the devil.

 

Rather than receiving Jesus as the Messiah they’re saying he’s the mouthpiece of Satan.

 

Rather than receiving the kingdom of God that comes in Jesus’ words, life, dying and rising, they’re saying he’s an ambassador of the kingdom of darkness.

 

This is what Jesus means when he warns his hearers against the sin against the Holy Spirit. It’s not some particular sin that’s somehow worse than any other. It’s what the Scribes are doing here. And what they were doing was a complete, fierce, and total rejection of the work of the Spirit through Jesus. To blaspheme Jesus and the Spirit is to say that heaven is hell, that God is the devil, the Spirit is Beelzebul, and Jesus is the devil’s servant.

 

Usually we start to worry about this sin against the Holy Spirit when we’re concerned that we’ve sinned in some unforgivable way. And it’s not a bad thing to be concerned about our own sin. But remember, God has given us the answer to our sin: his gifts of repentance and forgiveness.

 

Not only that, if you’re worried about committing this sin you haven’t committed it. People who’ve committed this sin aren’t concerned about a troubled conscience. They don’t care about repentance or forgiveness either. It’s called the unforgivable sin not because it’s so big and bad. Jesus has already dealt with every big and bad sin for you on the cross. All sin is forgiven. The unforgivable sin is unforgivable because it’s saying, “I want no part of your forgiveness.” The problem with that, of course is that sin has to go somewhere. If it’s not taken away by Jesus then it’s all on us.

 

But that’s not what Jesus wants for you. And not what he gives you. You belong to him. You’re forgiven in Jesus. You’re baptized into Christ. You live in his mercy and grace. You rejoice in his victory over sin and death and the devil for you. And don’t forget that even the so-called unforgivable sin can be forgiven. Remember how Jesus appeared to Saul the persecutor and turned him into Paul the apostle by the power of the very same Holy Spirit he had been blaspheming.

 

And when the devil or your own sinful flesh starts throwing your sins back in your face, go back to Jesus’ words. Remember what Jesus said right before that verse. All sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter. Not some. Not most. Not just the little ones. All.

 

Jesus forgives you all your sin. Period. Full stop. You cannot out sin the love of Jesus in his dying and rising for you. Sure we have big sins, and plenty of them. But Jesus is a bigger Savior.

 

This is good news. Believe this. Live in Jesus’ victory on the cross. That’s how we continue to live – by his grace and forgiveness – as members of his family. As Jesus says, “Whoever does the will of God is my mother and brother and sisters.”  

 

That’s Jesus’ word of homecoming for you: by his word and promise and Spirit, you are brothers and sisters in Christ. Now and forever.

 

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977