Thievery and Plunder
Then Jesus 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.” – Mark 3:20-35
Theft! I saw the back door of my car open, papers scattered across the driveway and yard, and – of all things! – my communion kit missing. Let me explain: the car was parked outside in a carport, not a closed garage. The communion kit is a small container for wine and four individual communion cups, and some wafers. It was in a dark purple velvet bag together with my pastor’s companion personal agenda book.
Dark velvet bag: easily mistaken for perhaps a Crown Royal bag. I wonder how disappointed the thief was when the contents turned out to be 2 ounces of wine and half-dozen communion wafers. I doubt the book was opened or read…though one could hope.
Jesus uses a rather earthy object lesson as he describes his dominance over Satan. Satan is the strong man. Jesus is the one who binds him and plunders his house. I love the imagery here! Satan: stong, secure, second-to-none in his own mind. Jesus weak, meek, being accused and on his way to death. But Satan is now bound, and his house is being plundered.
What is Jesus finding there? He’s finding prisoners of fear, condemnation, death, and sin. He’s finding people who have lost faith in God for they haven’t seen how God is at work in their lives; they’re blind. He’s finding people who have been deceived that might makes right, and into living as though all that matters is the here and now, the bright and shiny trinkets of worldly wealth, and whatever momentary glory or excitement they can experience. These are the same people who have discovered the sharp barbed-hook of death and bondage hidden in these things that are a delight to the eye, good for food, and desirable for attaining wisdom.
Jesus method of plundering is quite different from Satan’s. Satan has had his run. He’s taken, overcome, overpowered, and deceived his way through time up until now. He’s been the one who binds. Now Jesus is binding him with grace, truth, love, faithfulness, and the sheer reality of his word. Remember this: when God speaks, things happen.
Satan doesn’t even realize what is happening. He is oblivious that his ploy to accuse and undercut Jesus’ ministry is playing into God’s plan for our redemption and Satan’s defeat. But that’s exactly what is happening. And Satan is being plundered in spite of himself. In fact, he’s making it happen. Satan’s kingdom will not stand. Jesus will be victorious. The thief will be robbed of his ill-gotten gain.