The Most Important Question: The Unforgivable Sin

BIG IDEA: Is there anything that we can do that is beyond the grace of God?

SERIES: The Most Important Question Ever Asked – A Study in the Gospel According to Mark: John Mark, a traveling companion of the Apostle Peter, wrote this gospel. We trust his writing because of that tie to Peter, an Apostle of Christ. He writes this gospel by taking down Peter’s account of Christ. It’s written likely because the Apostles were aging and their stories needed to be told for the coming generations. These are essentially the memoirs of Peter written to a group of Christians in Rome, and it’s written with a sense of urgency. Jesus came to accomplish a mission and to do so with a remarkable sense of urgency. Throughout the entirety of the gospel, there is the most important question ever asked: Who do you say Jesus is? Fist gospel written.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 3:20-35
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But 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.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”


  • Context: Jesus was, and was considered by all, to be a radical individual. The inclination may be to dismiss the things Jesus said and did with simple, earthly explanations, but don’t fall prey to that. Don’t explain away Jesus.
  • Explanations
    • He’s out of his mind: Jesus’ family and friends are worried that Jesus has lost his mind, and we see that worry in this passage. They stage an intervention.
      • Response: If the Bible is a fictional work, why would it include this story? It doesn’t paint Jesus in a glorified light, or Jesus’ family in a glorified light.
      • Process: Many of Jesus’ family members had to go through a process, they had to sit with the idea that Jesus was their Messiah for some time before they could come to a personal decision that Jesus was who he said he was. This should be encouraging to us because they had Jesus physically with them, they saw his miracles firsthand, and yet it still took time for them.
    • He is possessed by demons: The Scribes decide that Jesus must be possessed by the evil spirits that he is casting out. They try to come up with any and every explanation for Jesus except invoking the power of God. They essentially call him the devil.
      • Our Culture: This is exactly what happens in our society today. We look to explain everything in the world, in God’s creation, without ever saying that the power of God could possibly be involved. It’s the only explanation that isn’t considered.
      • Response: Jesus doesn’t return their accusation with name-calling or in anger. He responds using their own language of logic and intellectualism. His response is an example for us in how to respond when our culture dismisses us in similar ways. He responds in grace. But he also responds with truth, telling the Scribes that they are dangerously close to committing the “unforgiveable sin.”
    • The Unforgiveable Sin
      • God wants to save first and foremost: Jesus is so full of grace that he warns the Scribes that they are close to committing a sin for which there is no forgiveness. Grace can save from all sin, but one, and we forget all too easily that sins. are forgiven. We get hung up on the one and forget that literally all other sin has been forgiven.
      • What is the “unforgivable sin”? It’s fulling knowing in head and heart, fully experiencing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and denying it’s reality. Blasphemy is forgivable, but blasphemy in the face of the truth, looking Jesus in the eyes, is unforgivable. There comes a time when ignorance is no longer an excuse for not believing.
      • Why is blasphemy so serious? It’s slander, and slander is to speak in opposition of truth. Our job is to reverberate the truth about God in word and deed. The opposite of this, the opposite of worship, is to reverberate falsehood. When you’re given truth and you turn and reverberate falsehood, that’s opposition to the gospel. That’s doing the exact opposite of what we were created to do. And to then attribute something that God has to done to Satan, that is unforgiveable.
    • Jesus’ Family: In response to the doubt of his family, Jesus turns and says that whoever does the will of God is his family. He redefines family. He doesn’t disown his family, but he declares that his family is far more and far greater than his blood ties.
    • No matter where you are in the process of discovering who Jesus is, continue to engage the truth. You are not beyond the grace of God.

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