Two Kingdoms

Whenever I read scripture, I’m always amazed at how human nature stays the same. The reactions, the comments, the attitudes, and the responses toward Jesus are the same today as they were more than two thousand years ago. Our culture prides itself on how evolved it has become – how much more knowledge and wisdom it possesses, but the reality is, we haven’t changed a bit!

Mark 3 tells us three ways people responded to Jesus. As His followers, we can expect the same treatment (see John 15:18-25). In this chapter, we also see the reason why people hate Jesus.

#1 – Critics accused Jesus.

Mark 3:2 – They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

Both New Testament and modern-day Pharisees are those who believe themselves to be righteous based on their good works. They reject any notion that Jesus is the Son of God, and to support their position, they are constantly watching for opportunities to criticize and condemn Him, based on the actions of professed believers. They delight in pointing out the failures of the followers of Jesus as just more supporting evidence that Christianity is a myth.

#2 – Critics dismissed Jesus.

Mark 3:21 – When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”

Has anyone ever told you it was crazy to believe in Jesus? If our critics can’t find something in our character to accuse us of, they will simply dismiss us as having lost our senses. Christians are often perceived as ignorant. We don’t progress with the culture; we’re old-fashioned and stuck in the past. We must not be very intelligent. Jesus’ own people dismissed His miraculous healings and His teaching as that of a madman.

#3 – Critics denounced Jesus.

Mark 3:22 – The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

To denounce someone is “to pronounce especially publicly to be blameworthy or evil.” Critics of Jesus do exactly what Isaiah warned against: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness (Isaiah 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees went so far as to say Jesus was using demonic power to heal – attributing the work of God to the devil and rejecting the clear revelation that Jesus is the Son of God.

This attitude is very prevalent in our culture. Things that God says are evil and abominable are admired as good and even praiseworthy, honoring those who openly and proudly announce their sinful choices. On the other hand, those things that God says are good and right and worthy of praise are denounced as narrow-minded; those who dare to go against the cultural perspective are seen as foolish or even called evil.

The last part of this chapter explains why people have the negative reactions to Jesus that we see in scripture and in our world today. Jesus clearly states that there are two kinds of people in the world – those who belong to God, and those who belong to Satan.

Mark 3:23-25 – And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

Jesus uses two words to describe the condition of all people: kingdom and house.

We are either in the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Satan.

We are either members of God’s household, or the household of Satan.

There is no in-between.

Colossians 1:13-14 – For He [Jesus] rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus talked about entering the kingdom of God many times. It’s very clear that we are not born as members of His kingdom, but must be rescued, redeemed, saved, and born again to enter the kingdom of Jesus. It is a spiritual kingdom, but it is also a physical kingdom that will one day exist on this earth when Jesus comes again to take His rightful place.

Right now, this earth is the kingdom of Satan. Those who belong to Christ are safe from the enemy’s power, but all people outside faith in Jesus are fair game to suffer from and to be used for his evil intentions.

Ephesians 2:17-22 – And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

God’s people are referred to as a household, a holy temple of the Spirit of God, a family, and the body of Christ. We are separate from the world. We no longer belong to the enemy; we belong to God.

2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Light vs. darkness.

Good vs. evil.

Right vs. wrong.

Holy vs. unholy.

Don’t be surprised when your words about Jesus are rejected. If they hated Him, they will hate you also (John 15:18). As a follower of Jesus, you might be criticized and accused, dismissed as crazy, or denounced as evil. Be encouraged when that happens. It’s simply evidence that the Bible is true, that God is real, that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. It proves without a doubt that two domains exist (both physical and spiritual), and in the end, just as He promised, the kingdom of God will prevail.

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