The Truth about His Parables | Mark 3:23–27

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.

A parable is a true-to-life story that metaphorically illustrates a spiritual reality.  It’s hard to believe that there would be a negative side to their usage, but that is exactly their context.  Rather than simply a creative outlet for Jesus’s instruction, He used them to hide truth from those rejecting Him.

Jesus used smaller illustrations in His teaching in the past.  In the Sermon on the Mount, He called His disciples “the salt of the earth” (Mt 5:13) and the “light of the world” (v. 14).  Still, He immediately explains Himself—don’t be salt that loses its savor or a light hidden under a bushel, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (v. 16).  His analogies illuminate and were open to all.

However, His extended metaphors were hazier and lacked His exposition.  Later in Mark, the disciples asked Him why He had started speaking in parables (Mk 4:10).  He explained, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables.”  The scribes blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and now Jesus keeps them locked out and befuddled.

What can we learn?

First, nothing can work without a unified purpose—including the demonic realm.  Inversely, the kingdom of God cannot move forward if the stewards of Israel refuse the orders of their Messiah.  At least, they won’t move forward with Him, and these parables are their moment of exclusion.  Those who claim to serve God must strive to be unified with His Word.

Second, regardless of how organized Satan may be, he does have an end.   Satan may have mustered his minions and clouded Israel with the misinformation of the scribes, but Jesus can bind him and plunder his house.  He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8), and through Jesus’s death, He could “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hb 2:14). Satan will meet his end in the Lake of Fire, as will all who serve him (Rv 20:1–10).

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