The story moves from the wilderness, to the sea and now to the mountains. The mountains were where you went to be out of sight of the authorities. Jesus appoints his twelve apostles. The significance of twelve would not have been lost on the Jews of the time. Twelve was the number of the tribes of Israel. Jesus signifies the beginning of the restoration of the children of God; a revolution.
He returns home and his family are worried. Is Jesus mad?
Mark brackets another story in the narrative; is Jesus bad?
The authorities label Jesus. They want to discredit him and neutralise his authority. Jesus does not respond in kind. He tells stories that show that yes, the Kingdom is coming and Satan’s kingdom is under threat, but not for the reasons they are suggesting. Jesus has bound the strong man and is plundering his kingdom. He is healing the sick and delivering the afflicted from demons!
If we read the scriptures we see God constantly trying to move people on, drawing them into himself; his way of being; his way of seeing. In Jesus we see God’s revelation of himself; Jesus’ teachings and actions challenge the thinking of the time, to seek the truth of what God has already shown them through the prophets and move on and into the promised blessing, the blessing that is for all people. Jesus has challenged their concept of sin and now he says every sin is forgiven except for one. Spiritual blindness.
Jesus has refreshed the idea of authority; it resides in him and the message is that true godliness is not in observance but in authenticity. It is in life and it is not bequeathed but a gift to all. The religious authorities are so blind to this they can not see God and are even now plotting against Jesus.
They need eyes to see and ears to hear. It’s not about blasphemy, the sins we can see and label, it is about hearts turning away from God. All sins are forgiven, but spiritual blindness means we don’t see it and walk away from forgiveness. It’s in refusing to see the hope and goodness that is in the works of God we are lost, clinging to our own way.
Coming out of this story, back into the story of Jesus’ family, the shock of Jesus’ attitude to his mother, brothers and sisters opens our eyes to the enormity of the promise of Jesus’ words. Our eyes are opened to the good news that all sin is forgiven and by doing the will of God we are made brothers, sisters and mother to Jesus.