What a horror! Nineveh’s mighty chariots are burned and its swords melted in smoke. The wealthy city is completely destroyed and left in ashes. The ferocious lion’s den is raided—its gold and silver looted, and its lionesses and cubs slaughtered. This apocalyptic scene tells a sober story, a divine drama in which God’s wrath is finally unleashed to execute justice on earth. Everybody should be afraid, and even the most powerful kingdom of the world should take heed. It does not pay to defy God.
Empires rise and fall, and arrogant leaders often forget they are nothing but fragile creatures before the almighty God. They fool themselves into believing that they are invincible, that their city or nation will stand forever. Leaders of the church, in whom spiritual authority is invested, can easily fall into the same sin of pride. In contrast to the arrogant leaders who bring a terrible fate on their cities or churches, those who trust in the Lord, says the psalm, will stand upright and firm like holy Mount Zion (Psalm 125:1). In the stories of Mark 3, Jesus continues to heal the sick and free the demon-possessed, even though the Pharisees refuse to recognize Jesus’ remarkable acts of mercy that change lives. Determined to thwart Jesus’ work of salvation, some Pharisees commit the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by calling it Beelzebub, the leader of demons.
Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, no one can repent of their sins or accept Jesus’ forgiveness. Anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, therefore, effectively removes themselves from the first step to reconciliation with God. Between Jesus and the Pharisees, alas, we see the contrast between Mount Zion and Nineveh. In view of the potential consequences, let us follow Jesus closely and do God’s will so that we may become members of his family rather than his enemies. Let us also pray often for our political and church leaders.
What can we do as Christians to make sure that our city is blessed like Mount Zion rather than doomed like Nineveh?
What is the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? How can we become members of Jesus’ family?
Holy God, you are slow to anger, but in justice no one can escape your wrath. You are also quick to forgive, calling us ever patiently to return to your blessings. Grant us your Holy Spirit, so that we may see your grace, be healed, and become family members of your Son our Lord. Amen.