Acknowledge Christ before Men
8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Observations and Reflections
If anyone was wondering why Luke did not include the unforgivable sin in Luke 11, where Jesus is accused of casting out demons in the name of Beezebul, it’s because Luke moved the unforgivable sin until after Jesus delivers the “woes” to the Pharisees. In Mark’s version, the woes and the unforgivable sin are separate interactions. In fact, Mark places the unforgivable sin at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, where Luke places it at after Jesus reaches Jerusalem.
However, once again the unforgivable sin is directed at the Pharisees who were currently being verbally skewed alive by Jesus for their hypocrisy and their plotting against Jesus. Jesus is talking to a mixed crowd but this line was undoubtedly directed at the Pharisees. The Sadducee did not believe int he afterlife and many scribes were split on the issue. However, the people at large and the Pharisees all feared the life after this physical death.
A helpful tool for trying to organize various teachings of Jesus is a good parallel gospel harmony. Below is the layout for Jesus’ teaching on the unforgivable sin. An open source version can be downloaded from our free downloads page.
There will come a time in which the faith of the disciples will be challenged and tested. Jesus here is telling His disciples that their loyalty ought to lie with Jesus Christ alone and that they do not need to fear men. He tells them that they need to stand firm in their faith in Christ and that those around them who do sin, will be held accountable.
He tells them that there will be those who will openly and blatantly speak out against Jesus Christ and those same people will bring them before those who are in authority to test them and their faith. They will challenge the Gospel, threaten them with beatings, jail time or even death.
Jesus encourages their hearts with the fact that even in the midst of these dangers, He will provide for them the Holy Spirit to give them the words and means to stand up for their faith. They can rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help enable them to bodly and courageously stand up for their faith and trust that God will control the outcome.