Scripture has a lot to say about the benefits of the work that Jesus has accomplished through His work on the cross. Ephesians 1:3 in particular says that God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 says that “all the promises of God find their Yes in Him.” In 1 Peter 1:8-9 the apostle Peter rejoiced over the benefits that Jesus had secured for him with these words:
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Here we see that the primary benefit that Jesus secured is salvation.
Because of the benefits that Jesus has secured for His people there are a lot of people who associate themselves with Jesus. They go to church, they call themselves Christians, and they put Jesus bumper stickers on their cars. Everyone wants in on the benefits that Jesus has accomplished. The problem is that because of our sinful hearts we often create our own Jesus to follow. We are uncomfortable with who Jesus really is and we don’t want to submit to Him. To say it this way, however, does not sound very good. So, we hide the true intentions of our heart. We interpret Jesus however we want. We say we are following Jesus so that we can take advantage of the benefits He has accomplished, but in reality we have lost sight of His true identity. We are following ourselves rather than Jesus. Sometimes this is an obvious problem (i.e. Deepak Chopra’s book The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore), but usually it is a much more difficult to identify (i.e. those who just want to make Jesus an “add-on” to their lives).
In Mark 3:20-35 we are confronted with this very issue.
Then he went home,and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”- for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
What we see in this passage is that if we want to receive the benefits that Jesus has accomplished then we must do more than just associate ourselves with Jesus. Specifically, in order to receive the benefits of the work of Christ we must accept Jesus on his terms rather than on our terms. In this passage Mark gives us three terms which we must submit to in order to truly accept Jesus and receive the benefits He has accomplished.
First, our affection for Jesus must be informed by the truth (vv.20-21).
Second, our knowledge of Jesus must recognize His authority (vv. 22-30).
Finally, our relationship with Jesus must result in obedience (vv. 31-35).
In the coming days we are going to look closely at this passage, and these points. As we do, it should as an opportunity for us to examine our own hearts.