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  There is probably not another more critical question than, “Who is Jesus?”  This question periodically hits the major news magazines as another article is written trying to have a domesticated controllable Jesus.  But the gospel writers present to us a Jesus who is not controllable and who doesn’t fit nicely into anyone’s box.  This Christmas, as with every Christmas, everyone everywhere is faced with answering the question “Who is Jesus?”, and then living with our answer.  During Jesus’ earthly ministry the people had to decide who they believed Jesus to be.  In Mark chapter three we come across an incident in which two groups of people come to two different conclusions about Jesus’ identity.  The issue that forced the decision was the fact that Jesus was going about healing people and in particular that he was casting out demons.  The two groups of people are his family on the one hand and then the scribes from Jerusalem on the other.  What is important to remember about this moment is that neither groups was denying that Jesus was casting out demons.  No one was saying, “that didn’t happen.”  It was plainly obvious it was happening the question that had to be answered was by what power is he doing this?  Jesus’ family responded by saying, “He’s out his mind.”  Essentially their answer was that Jesus was insane.  He was causing such an upheaval that they felt we need to take control of him.  The second group said, “He’s possessed.”  The reason he can do these things is by the power of Satan.  Jesus responds to both charges in turn.  The first charge is that he’s casting out Satan by the power of Satan.  Jesus simply responds to this charge by saying it is illogical and self-defeating.  If Satan is casting out Satan his kingdom is in civil war and will come to an end.  On the other hand, if Jesus is stronger than Satan then he can enter this ‘strong man’s’ house and plunder it.  The only real explanation to what is happening is that Jesus is plundering Satan’s house which means the kingdom of God has come and the power of the Spirit of God is at work through Jesus.  To this Jesus adds a stern warning.  Since Jesus is casting out demons the only possible explanation is that the Spirit of God is working in and through Jesus and therefore it is extremely dangerous to call the work of the Spirit the work of the Devil.  To know the work of the Spirit and yet to attribute it to the Satanic power is an “eternal sin.”  Jesus adds that all sins will be forgiven but blasphemy against the Spirit never has forgiveness.  For the simple reason that to call the work of the Spirit Satanic is to turn away from the only provision God has made for the forgiveness of sins.  God is working in Jesus by the Spirit. If you call the Spirit satanic and therefore Jesus operating by Satanic power one cannot receive forgiveness since he is the only provision for sins.  Thus, one must choose what one believes about the person and work of Jesus.  If one dismisses Jesus work as the work of an insane person or the work of the devil then one cannot receive forgiveness on the other hand if one see’s the work of God present in Jesus then one may receive both the forgiveness of sins and a place in the family of God.  Which is where Jesus goes next in his response to his family.  The people come to Jesus and say, your family wants to see you (presumably Jesus was aware of their conclusion that he was crazy) to which he responds, “Who are my mother and my brothers?  And looking at his disciples he said, “Here are my mother and brothers.  For whoever does the will of God he is my brother, and sister and mother.”  In other words, whoever comes to the right conclusion who I am and obeys my word will be part of my family.  My family transcends even earthly family ties.  Gods invitation this Christmas is to recognize His work in the life and ministry of Jesus as God’s appointed savior/deliverer and as a result of submitting to His will you and I can become part of His family which will last forever.  Is that your hope this Christmas?  Do you have the certainty and joy of belonging to the greatest family ever?  The family of God.  While you spend time with family this Christmas might you recognize that Jesus came to create a family that will last forever and will be healed of every brokenness.  Merry Christmas!  Pastor Paige