Mark 3:28-30 (NLT)
"I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences." He told them this because they were saying, "He's possessed by an evil spirit."
This is a passage that has confounded Christians for a very long time. It is the unforgivable sin. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit - what is it?
I believe and will continue to believe that the only way to interpret Scripture is through other Scripture. God knows what He means and He imparts it to us if we will only SEEK the Truth. The only way to do that is through prayer and Bible reading (and study).
In this passage, Jesus had been casting out evil spirits (demons). Those demons knew who Jesus was and they would, in fact, come out of the possessed "shrieking, 'You are the Son of God!'" (Mark 3:11) Jesus then instructed the disciples (the 12 called out from the many who originally began to follow Him) how to cast out demons. The pharisees, however, were displeased and murmured among themselves that, "He's possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That's where he gets the power to cast out demons." (Mark 3:22)
As a result of their whispers - Jesus knew then and knows now what people are saying and doing - He asked, "Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger - someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house." (Mark 3:27)
He then rebuked them and told them that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit could never be forgiven - a sin with eternal consequences. In other words, if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you have no chance of redemption and will be cast into Hell. Oops.
The key to understanding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is found in verse 30. They were saying that Jesus was getting His power from Satan. Why is this considered blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? It is because the miracles that Jesus performed were performed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Consider these points:
- Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18)
- John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)
- Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" when he was led, by the Holy Spirit, in the desert for 40 days, where He was tempted by Satan. (note that He was not led "into" the desert but, rather, "led" in the desert, signifying that the Holy Spirit guided Him through the difficult temptation)
- After the disciples had been casting out demons, in Jesus' name, He was "full of joy through the Holy Spirit." (Luke 10:21)