The Power of Jesus - Mark 3:7-35

Have you ever had an experience where you sensed the presence and activity of invisible spiritual forces of darkness? What was that experience, and how did it make you feel?


Mark 3:7-35
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

22 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.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 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.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

In our text today, Jesus shows us that invisible demonic forces are real and active in our world (Mk 3:15). He came to bring God's Kingdom and destroy these spiritual forces of darkness through his sin-defeating death and death-defeating resurrection (Mk. 3:27). As disciples of Jesus, we are invited into Jesus’ Kingdom. We have also been sent out with authority to announce the good news of His Kingdom and drive out spiritual forces of darkness in His name.
C. S. Lewis famously said, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.“ (C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters).
  • When you think about the invisible world of the devil and demonic spirits, do you tend to be more of a materialist or a magician? Explain.

Most people in the secular west, including Christians, tend to live more as materialists. Most of us live practically as if invisible spiritual realities aren’t sensible. While the Christian faith has always affirmed the goodness of the material world as God’s creation, Jesus also consistently warned that the created world could distract us from the invisible world. Jesus famously said, “What good is it to gain the whole world and forfeit your soul?” And Paul tells us that we are prone to worship the creation (which we can see) rather than the Creator (whom we can’t see cf. Rom 1:20ff). 
  • For you, what are the specific “created” things of life (money, sex, marriage, hobbies, food, adventure, work, etc.) that tend to distract you and “help” you ignore the invisible realities of life?

  • The Bible shows us a better way than the materialist or the magician. Read Colossians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Peter 5:8. 
  • According to these verses, what is the primary way demonic forces assert their influence in our lives? And as a result,  what is the primary way we are called to “cast out” these spiritual forces in the name and authority of Jesus?
  • Many demonic lies can hold people in bondage to sin, shame, and sorrow. What are some of the specific lies you have been prone to believe, and what particular truths of the gospel have “cast out” those lies and set you free to walk in the newness of life?

Who is somebody in your life (believer or unbeliever) who may be in bondage to demonic lies? Spend some time as a group praying that God would give you an opportunity to announce the liberating message of the gospel to them and that God, by His power, would open their eyes and set them free.

Father, you have called us into the Kingdom of your beloved Son and commissioned us to announce the good news of Christ’s love and to push back spiritual forces of darkness through the power of the gospel. Enable to see all of life, visible and invisible, through the eyes of faith. And empower us to walk confidently and joyfully in the authority and love of Jesus.