Good Shepherd Lutheran

Be Strong – (Mark 3:20-28)

“You are possessed by Beelzebub and you cast out demons by the ruler of demons.” That’s the accusation against Jesus. You can hear it linger in the air. “Jesus is possessed by Beelzebub.” Although the defamation inherent in this accusation has been lost over the centuries, in those days it was clearly a deadly insult.
This is the charge. They’re saying that Jesus is possessed by Beelzebub – the pagan god of the Philistines – who’s the enemy of the God of Israel. No matter how shocking that sounds, Jesus predicted it would happen. And He also predicted that those kinds of accusations would one day be made against the Apostles and other Christians, too.
If we share Christ’s work today, it’s not surprising that we’d also be tarred with the same brush. But the question is how would we personally respond if someone were to level such awful accusations against us? What would we do? Would we seek revenge or try to force our accusers to retract what they said? Or would we have the restraint to be able to respond as Jesus did? Jesus simply asked them, “How can Satan drive out Satan? How can a Kingdom divided against itself stand? How can a house divided against itself stand?”
Since we live in ‘timber country’, most of us remember what happened when the Spotted Owl was added to the endangered species list. Logging operations were shut down. Mills were closed, and the Oregon economy suffered a crippling blow. The concern was that logging was contributing to the destruction of the Spotted Owl. But according to a Newsweek article published in November of 1996, research showed that the owl’s greatest enemy wasn’t the loggers. It was another owl. The problem was the rapid migration of the Barred Owl into Spotted Owl territory.
Barred Owls used to live exclusively east of the Mississippi, but as they moved west, they began to compete for the same food and habitat as the Spotted Owls. Unfortunately, Barred Owls were more aggressive and adaptable, so as the stronger species they began to force out the Spotted Owls and greatly reduced their numbers.
The greatest enemy of the Spotted Owl wasn’t the logging industry; it was another of its own kind. It was another owl. And because the owls were competing against each other, one of them was being pushed toward extinction.
That’s the point Jesus was making. If a kingdom is divided, or if owls are competing for the same area, then the integrity of the structure has been compromised and eventually the entire thing will fall. So, if Satan fights against Satan, he’s done for and God wins, so Jesus wins the argument.
He was right. When we turn against one another, we’re doomed to destroy ourselves. Using this simple example Jesus proved the scribes wrong and, more importantly, He provided us with the perfect example for how to be strong in the face of opposition today.