Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

By: Fr. Seraphim SlobodskoyRead time: 6 mins4520 Hits

The Saviour Accuses the Pharisees of Sin.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

The enemies of Christ, the Pharisees, took counsel among themselves as to how to kill Jesus Christ. But the Saviour, aware of this, moved away from there. A large crowd of people followed after Him, and He in His tender-heartedness healed all their sick.

When the Saviour and His disciples entered one house, so many people came together that they could not even eat. Then, a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to the Saviour. The Lord healed him so that the dumb man spoke and saw. All the people were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said bitterly, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons (the Devil, Satan), that this man casts out demons.”

Then, Jesus Christ said, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 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. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is coming to an end. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.

“Therefore, truly I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven either in this age or in the age to come.”

The mercy of God is without end; and if a person knows his sin and repents, then there is no sin which can overcome the great mercy of God. Sins and blasphemies from error or delusion occur often and are easily washed away by repentance.

However, whoever knowingly and persistently rejects the most saving mercy of God, which is a blessing of the Holy Spirit, and consciously calls the deeds of the omnipotent God the works of the Devil, he has no means of repentance, and without repentance there is not and can never be salvation.

The Holy Church thus determines that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is conscious, hardened opposition to the truth. The Holy Spirit constitutes all truth (John 16:13, 14:26, 15:26), He is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17); thus, the Lord Himself calls Him.

While He was still speaking, the Saviour’s Mother and brothers came and stood outside, but they could not reach Him due to the crowd. (By “brothers” at that time, in Hebrew and in general, in the eastern custom, it was meant all close relatives.).

The Pharisees took advantage of this instance to interrupt His teaching and to provoke distrust in the people about His divine parentage and said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, wishing to speak to You.”

Then, Jesus Christ wanted to remind the people once again that He was the Son of the Holy Virgin Mary only physically; but that at the same time, He was, from eternity, the Son of God and had come to earth to save the sinful race of man, to fulfil the will of His Heavenly Father. Therefore, He Himself as well as His Most-pure Mother and all the faithful are obliged firstly to do the will of the Heavenly Father. Thus, it is necessary to put this lofty, eternal, spiritual obligation higher than temporal, earthly ones.

The Lord knew that His Mother kept in Her heart all His words. She herself attentively served and fulfilled His divine teaching; setting Her as an example to all He said, “Who are My Mother and My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My Mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven (as My Mother fulfils it) is My brother, and sister and mother.”

Thus, the Lord held on high the dignity of His Most-pure Mother, Who was blessed not only in that She bore God Incarnate but even more so in that She became the first to perfectly fulfil His divine will.

He as the Son of God knew that His Mother now came to Him not to interfere with His preaching the Gospel about the Kingdom of God but to suffer with Him. In truth, the cruel internal pain pierced Her heart. Because of love for Her divine Son, She agonized to witness His suffering. But submission to the will of God, love for sinners, for whose redemption from eternal death Her Son and God offered himself as a sacrifice of propitiation, this submission prompted Her to accept without a murmur everything that was predestined by the plan of the Holy Trinity from the foundation of the world.

Jesus Christ as the Son of Man was pained over the grief of His Mother and as God gave Her the strength to endure this terrible ordeal. The Mother suffered over Her beloved Son surrounded by desecration and dishonour; but as the Mother of God Incarnate, She wished to be considered worthy of bearing this supernatural suffering and in everything relying on Him. She awaited this hour with steadfastness.

Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 12:22-37, 46-50; Mark 3:20-35; Luke 11:14-23; 8:19-21.

The Most-holy Mother of God accomplished the supreme spiritual feat on earth, the spiritual feat of perfect humility, which is love. She either spoke the word of God or remained quiet. “During the life of Her Son, She was in the shadows,” writes the author of Humility in Christ, “and in His Ascension, She remained inconspicuous. However, having now our only Intercessor in the Most Holy Mother of God, we know that Her life was better than that of any other person whoever lived on earth.” After Her Dormition, She was exalted by God not only higher than all the saints who were ever pleasing to God but higher than all the hosts of Heaven, “more honourable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim.”

Thus in the person of the Most Holy Mother of God, there are realized the immutable words of the Lord: Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:31).

(from: The Law of God
by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)