Todays’s readings.. (1 Kings 20), (Jeremiah 29), (Mark 3)
     Imagine you are living in Israel as reports about what Jesus is doing and saying spread.  Our reading in Mark shows what contrasting reactions took place.  The worst reactions were among those who felt their positions of authority were under threat.  It also came from those who were proud of their interpretations of the very letter of the laws of Moses: they were sure they were ‘right’ in the sight of God. 
People of this way of thinking closed their minds to block out any consideration of what Jesus was actually doing or saying! We read yesterday that they asked, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” [2 v.16].  Today, we read how a man with a withered hand was in the synagogue on the Sabbath.  Jesus asks, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” [3 v.4]  They gave no answer.
    After he healed the man they “immediately held counsel … how to destroy him.” [v.6]  They now tried to slander him to the people, “He is possessed by Beelzebul … the prince of demons” [v.22], this shows they had been influenced by Greek mythology and its ways of thinking. Their intense jealousy blinded them to the wonder of the miracles he wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit which God had given him “without measure” [John 3 v.34].  They said, “he has an unclean spirit” [v.30] which lead Jesus to say “Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven … and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin.” [v.29] What remarkable things Jesus was able to do because he had the full measure of the Holy Spirit!  How could they be so blind – but we humans can act and reason very strangely. There is a comparison with convictions today.  This is the denial that there is a God and that he is the cause of all that exists. 
    The second verse of the Bible is about God’s spirit in action to create this world and the things in it.   It is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit to deny there is a Creator and his acts of creation! The time is coming when God will display his full anger on a world that has convinced itself that he does not exist.  Let us make sure we are on the Lord’s side and, where-ever we can, shed a little light in the darkness that now exists..