Jesus transforms violence by stopping it in its tracks.
S2:E23 EPISODE SUMMARY
“Who are my mother and my brothers? … Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus’s family is trying to “restrain” him, because rumors are starting to fly. He and his disciples are healing the sick and casting out demons, and the scribes are saying that the demons are only listening to Jesus because he has Belzebub, the prince of demons, within himself. To avoid this scandal, Jesus’s blood relatives are trying to quiet him down, but Jesus won’t stop and he won’t shut up. He’s going to keep healing, keep casting out demons, and keep loving everyone.
Is Jesus out of his mind? Of course not. But by spreading love to the most marginalized, by embracing demoniacs to cast out demons and expanding the definition of family to all who follow in his way of Love, he is breaking down the boundaries that have made “insiders” feel protected and special. What authorities are calling irrational is simply Jesus’s universal, unconditional love in action.
This is the perfect passage to kick off pride week. Family goes far beyond blood. Can’t you just hear Jesus singing Sister Sledge’s, “We! Are! Fam-i-ly!”?
Jesus also brings the logic in addition to the love. When he’s accused of casting out demons with his own demons, he asks, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” But the truth is, that’s been happening for thousands of years. Fighting fire with fire. The problem with that, though, is that it leaves the whole world in flames.
Jesus comes to teach us another way.
Jesus transforms violence by stopping it in its tracks. By embracing the marginalized and healing the sick and casting out demons but restoring the people who had been haunted by demons, Jesus transforms a whole world built on sacrificing outcasts into a world of mercy. And by answering violence with forgiving love. He “binds the strong man” by putting Satan, the spirit of accusation, in a bind. By refusing to return violence for violence, Jesus stops violence in its tracks. He renders it impotent with the resurrection. The flames of violence burn themselves out, but the fire of the Holy Spirit ever kindles new life.
There’s a disturbing verse about how those who blaspheme against the Spirit can never have forgiveness. It sounds scary, but what does it mean? It doesn’t say God doesn’t forgive. Rather, continuing to live in accusation and blame is refusing the Spirit of Forgiveness. The question becomes, how do we live into the Holy Spirit so others may dare to as well? How do we transform a world of blame and violence into trust, vulnerability, and compassion?
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Once again, friends helped channel the Spirit and guide the conversation this week. If you’d like to join Adam, Lindsey, and friends, your presence would enhance our dialogue! We welcome you every Wednesday on Jesus Unmasked at 5 CT/ 3 PT on the Raven Foundation Facebook page!