Thursday 17 June 2021


MARK. CHAPTER 3, verses 13/35

The passage begins with Jesus choosing his Apostles.

A time had come for Jesus to consider how his message could be continued after he returned to heaven, and how to spread the gospel.  He chose men who he knew would faithfully ensure his message would be carried on, as they were trusted followers.  All that was needed they possessed, full belief in Jesus and conviction of his teaching.

The Apostles were a unique group of men specially chosen by Jesus under God’s guidance, and have no successors.

When the family of Jesus heard what He had planned to do, they thought he had lost his mind.  He was leaving a secure occupation as a carpenter for a future into the unknown,  In addition, he was going to face fierce opposition and confrontation from the powerful Jewish leadership; no one would have faced the Pharisees and get away with it. Consequently the family wondered why he would take such a risk.

The Jewish leaders visited Jesus from Jerusalem and accused him of being possessed of the devil.  The Jewish leadership accepted Jesus’ power to drive out demons, but said he was the prince of demons and in charge of them and exercising black magic.  Jesus tried to explain to them in parables, using as an illustration if you face a strong man you first tie him up so that he won’t harm you.

 Jesus stated a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. He knew their thoughts, for the aim is to divide God’s kingdom. Abraham Lincoln, prior to the disastrous civil war in the United States, realised the meaning of Jesus’ Words when he referred to the division being caused when one part of the country wanted slavery to continue, and the other part opposed it.


Likewise. Jesus referred to a family or house divided. A family living together beneath one roof, if there is no harmony and agreement between members of the household, it is impossible for that house to be successful. Children seeing father and mother fighting, may take sides for one or the other, and so cause division. The aim of political activists is to destroy the family principle, for a family is a basic foundation of life.

.Jesus said anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit is making an unforgiveable accusation.  People could by virtue of Jesus death on the Cross be forgiven of their sin, but to attribute to Satan that which is in the power of God, in other words the Spirit’s testimony is satanic, such a person could never be forgiven for they are guilty of eternal sin.


Teaching is often given attacking the doctrine of eternity in hell on the basis that God is a God of love, and would therefore not make such a committal.  Jesus told there was a choice, and in parables gave example of two places, heaven and hell, and he always quoted the two s alternatives. God indeed would not want to send anyone to hell. But he allows us to choose ourselves to go there by disobeying his Word and rejecting Jesus as Savior.  Be careful which eternity you choose. Let nothing turn you from the narrow road on to the crowded broad one. 

When Jesus mother and brothers arrived where Jesus was teaching, they asked someone to bring him out to them. Jesus was told they were waiting for him, but he just looked at the people around him, and said they were his mother and brothers, meaning he wanted to have an earthly family, emphasizing that he had to give priority to his mission to the people of faith, and said whoever does the will of God is my mother , brother and sister.  All true believers will listen to these last words of Jesus.  We may not be worldly rich, not should be ashamed when we hear Jesus say all who do the will of God are part of his family.

The above is an exposition of the passage, we need to consider how the Church relates to it now.

 The names of these men, fishermen and men without a degree amongst them, are known to millions of people twenty one centuries later.  They were entrusted by our Lord to spread the gospel, and left us with the New Testament which contains their teaching.

There are no Apostles now, they were a unique band of men formed for a specific purpose of spreading the gospel, and creating unity of Christians. It is often stated that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, but there is no such things as Apostolic succession.

The Apostles would not countenance that which is accepted by the Churches now. Ministry should be modelled on them, and all preaching based on what they taught. How we need such type of men now.

But apart from their convictions they were brave and full of courage, leaving their occupations to follow Jesus into the unknown, for Jesus was not offering security.  In addition they were opposing powerful men so putting themselves in further danger.

The followers of Jesus were ready to trust the power of God to protect them. We have to venture forth in the same trust, as the opposition is beyond human power to contain.  The forces against us have their supporters in the judiciary, media and politicians.

 What a contrast to those men and now women with fancy titles and vestments, who cannot fully support the gospel they gave, and called on fellow Christians to boycott a mission led by one the most prominent preachers in the world, just because he didn’t support same sex marriage. That preacher hosts meetings which attract thousands of people. I wonder how many (or few) those bishops who called for his boycott attract.

Church leaders are actively calling for Biblical teaching to be abandoned, to avoid causing ill-feeing amongst those who cannot accept it.  Collusion was openly admitted in the House of Lord by a Bishop, that the Church of England was working closely with an activist group.

The Apostles were all converted to the faith before being chosen, and it is vital that such is an essential qualification for all men and women who enter Holy Orders. Yet we have in Ministry those who are not full believers. How can any person preach about a Savior if he/she only knows Jesus by name.  Such only causes Christianity to be injured. Too often Ministry is seen as a soft but a respectable profession with a good style of living. That would never be an Apostles view.

There has been division within the Church from the very beginning, Paul fought it valiantly and constantly, men wanting to impose their ideas and desires when the Bible did not contain them. Preachers are still teaching it is acceptable to act in ways which the Bible explicitly condemns, and trying to force the Church to embrace.

In the Church today, there are those who want to follow a liberal agenda which avoids biblical truth, and causes people to fall a way, whilst the other half is loyal to God, and wants to be faithful to His Word.

But division can be caused in other ways. Controversial issues arise in political matters, and as only 6% of Church leaders chose to support a Conservative government, and made left wing views known, in contrast to the nation’s rejection of such views, such is not helpful. 

A faithful Minister has to seek to care for the unwell and alleviate sorrow, and should avoid becoming partisan in controversial subjects which cause division.

The division of Christians is a great weakness of the Church, yet it never seems to end.  Jesus knew there would be a constant struggle between the forces of sin and evil against the power of God, which Paul emphasized to Timothy, advising him that as messengers of God we do not have a spirit of timidity.

 What kind of Church can progress with God’s blessing, when a faithful Minister feels obliged to resign because an Archbishop tells him there is no place in the Church for him if he insists of preaching biblical sexuality?

An article in the prestigious newspaper the Telegraph suggests

‘Out of touch bishops are pushing the church to ruin’.

 The woke liberals we have would have apoplexy at the Apostles beliefs.

During the Brexit negotiations bishops were politically active, and as most had left-wing sympathies, antagonized other persuasions, suggesting they were stupid.


The Bishop of St.David’s made her views abundantly clear when she was quoted as saying, ‘all Tories are liars’; ‘never trust a Tory’; she was ashamed of people lacking moral fibre, for voting Tory’, yet praising the most extreme Socialist leader. With such statements it should have been plainly obvious to anyone with even limited intelligence, that a lot of people are going to be upset when the ‘Tories’ were so overwhelmingly popular in the nation. Consequently, the Church gets a bad name unnecessarily.

If she, or any other clergy of whatever rank or Office wish to publicly give their political statements in such offensive way, they should seek to get nominated by whichever political Party they are shouting for, otherwise stick to the day job..

Ministers at all levels should accept people will have different political views, it is called democracy, and whilst we as clergy may reveal our personal views directly or indirectly, we should avoid causing division by confining our preaching to the gospel. (for the information of those of other nations, a Tory is one who votes Conservative or have a right wing political opinion)

Like the Apostles, a faithful Minister must be able to preach, which is the principal *work for him/her.  This is above all other sacraments in the Church of Christ, otherwise it is like a lighthouse without a light or a trumpeter with a silent trumpet.  He/she must oppose anyone or any teaching, wherever it comes from if it contradicts the Bible.  This shows how important a Minister must speak truthfully, without fear of favor if we are to drink from the same cup as our Lord.

Churches live, grow and flourish by the Word of God, and wilt and fail when they don’t follow. Bible teaching demands nothing is more important for the life and growth of the Church .

The world famous preacher John Stott once stated that preaching is indispensable to Christianity, and without it a necessary part of its authenticity is lost. Christianity is in its very essence a religion of the Word of God.  The greatest single secret of spiritual development lies in the personal, humble, believing response to the Word of God.  It is as if God speaks to us through his Word that his warnings can bring us to conviction of sin, and his promise to assurance of forgiveness and his commands to amendment of life.  We are to grow by his Word.

Christian ministry can be the most rewarding of occupations, but in to-day’s environment it can also be depressing for a man/woman who is sincere and committed to fulfil the purpose of the Church, as laid down by our Lord, namely preach the gospel.

Any Minister at any time from the most innocuous situation will find him/herself criticized sometimes aggressively by someone who think they know better. A lot of Ministers are of gentle nature and easily upset, I have seen many reduced to tears.  Others of us who have faced the rough and tumbles of life are more able to deal with such aggravation and find when such people attack, they don’ expect any comeback and escape as soon as possible if asked to define their words. Often it is a case of someone wanting to be ‘respected and recognized.’


When Jesus departed this earth, he gave his Apostles those famous last words as his great commission for them. Let us bear them in mind and faithfully try to obey and carry them out.


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