Gospel: Mk 3.20-35. Jesus is accused by His enemies to be empowered by Beelzebul, the satan, an unclean spirit, because, among other things, He forgives the sins of others which only God can do; the crowd says, “He has gone out of His mind.” Even His parents and family were concerned about Him and thought He needed to be restrained.

The word ‘god’ can be used in many senses: Pagan god, Allah (who could  never have a son), the 300,000 Hindu gods, the Judeo-Christian triune God. Who was Jesus? Jesus believed he had been given the mission to carry out and fulfill what God had promised Israel when God had called Abram out of Ur. Jesus  somehow represented Israel like David represented Israel as her king and when he fought Goliath for her, which means He personified her. He was taken into Egypt by Mary and Joseph to escape Herod’s murder of the innocent children, so that He could fulfill the Scripture ‘out of Egypt I called My Son’ (Hos 11.1). He was the ‘faithful Israelite’ who obeyed God’s Torah impeccably because He had God’s Spirit who empowered Him. He was designated as ‘the Lamb of God’ who would die for His people (Isa 53.7) by John the Baptist (Jn 1.29,36) which means He would bring in the new Passover to set His people free and initiate the new Exodus to lead His people home from exile. The people of Israel had been in exile from the time of Adam which meant they were estranged from God, from others, and from themselves. Christ leads us in the new exodus, not from a geographical site like Egypt, but from slavery to sin and death to a renewed relationship with God, as the Spirit in the pillars of cloud and fire led the Israelites to the Promised Land. Through His faithful obedience to death on the cross, Jesus defeated the satan, the ‘ruler of this world’ (Jn 12.31, 14.30,  16.11), overcame death by resurrection, and condemned sin in His flesh (Rm 8.3). His death on the cross released the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers to give them the power to believe in Him and turn to Him in faith and obedience to follow Him as their King and Messiah. The sins of idolatry, disobedience, and disbelief are what had led to exile in the first place and now the new exodus out of exile required the forgiveness by God of sin. To be the people of the new exodus is to be followers of Jesus, people of the Sprit, members of God’s covenant family, people whose sins are forgiven, people who walk by the Spirit. Jesus came to do what God had promised Abram, create a family that would overcome sin and restore love, justice, and peace; would bring in God’s kingdom; would renew the whole creation; would write the law on people’s hearts; would give people a new heart of flesh instead of the old heart of stone; would give His people a new land (actually, the whole world); would restore the loving relationship with God; would return to Zion in Person, would destroy the old, corrupt Temple (where God and man met) and bring in a new one (Himself). Would live with His people. In doing all these things, He was revealing God who had promised them. So when we ask what God looks like, the answer is ‘a young Jewish peasant who returns to Jerusalem and weeps over the city because she will not listen to Him and faces imminent destruction; God looks like Jesus’ face wearing a crown of thorns in agony as He lays down His life for His people in love.

Memory Verse: No one has ever seen God; the only God [Jesus] who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known (Jn 1.18).