“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils he casts out devils.
And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” (Mark 3:23-29 KJV; See also Matthew 12:31 and Luke 12:10.)
Large crowds were following Jesus, watching him heal the sick and cast out demons. He had even come into the synagogues and disrupted the normal routine of things, casting an evil spirit out of one man, healing another man who had a withered hand, and healing a woman who had been bent over for 18 years. Jesus called her a Daughter of Abraham. (Luke 13:10-16)
Soon the religious leaders began to follow him around too. Not to get healed themselves, you understand, but to find a way to get rid of Jesus. And so, “experts” came down from Jerusalem and accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the devil. They said that he himself had an evil spirit.
Jesus pointed out a matter of common sense: neither a kingdom nor a house divided against itself can stand. He added, if I cast out demons by the power of the devil, by whose power are your sons casting them out? But, he said, if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Matthew 12:27-28) And indeed it had.
It strikes me sort of funny: these religious men criticized Jesus for doing things they themselves were doing, or should have been doing.
Then he warned them all, all manner of sins and blasphemy can be forgiven, except one: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. People could blaspheme against Jesus and be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven — not in this age, and not in the age to come. The person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is in danger of eternal damnation, Jesus said.
Lots of opinions have been written about that, by lots of religious experts, lots of theologians. There are severe laws against blasphemy in some countries; in some, it is a capital offense.
The word blasphemy simply means speaking slander of someone, being disrespectful and holding them in contempt. Strong’s Concordance definition includes slander, detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name; impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty.
My own thoughts
Speaking disrespectful words against Jesus doesn’t prevent you from changing your mind. (Repenting means changing your mind.) Today you may think Jesus is a myth, or just a good man, a good teacher but not really God.
You may think he didn’t really die on the cross to pay for your sins, or if he died, he wasn’t raised from the dead. Maybe you’ve just heard the gospel for the first time and it seems like a ridiculous, made-up story.
The Holy Spirit is doing his job, regardless of what you think about Jesus today. (See John 16:8.) Tomorrow you may change your mind and believe that he is exactly who he says he is. Once you accept his invitation and exercise natural human faith, he gives you his supernatural faith, God’s own faith.
Then what happens? At the same time you receive the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who inhabited Jesus. He was on the outside, persuading you of the identity of Jesus and the truth of the gospel. Now he is on the inside of you, changing you, teaching you, leading you, enabling you to do things you couldn’t do before.
But — if you persistently refuse the ministry of the Holy Spirit, you never come to believe Jesus. You resist the persuasion, you deny the truth, you make a choice to un-believe. A deadly choice.
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is denying his identity, denying the identity of Jesus, and denying yourself a chance to be inhabited by God’s Spirit. To be changed.
That’s just sad.