Jesus’ Conversation Paraphrased

Jesus’ Conversation Paraphrased June 27, 2018

Phil Ledgerwood paraphrased the conversation between Jesus and those who accused him of casting out demons through the power of Beelzebul:

JESUS: I’m casting out demons. The kingdom of God has come. I’m binding the strong man to pillage his house and reclaim Israel. Etc. Etc.

OPPONENTS: You only have authority over demons because Satan has given it to you.

JESUS: If that were true, then Satan would be fighting against himself and destroying his own kingdom.

OPPONENTS: …

JESUS: That would be, you know, really stupid.

OPPONENTS: Well…

JESUS: Do you think Satan is playing the long con, here? Letting me destroy his kingdom so you’ll trust in me so he can really get you somehow in the end?

OPPONENTS: Um, well, it made sense to us at the time.

JESUS: I’m casting out demons by the power of God. It means his kingdom has finally come among you.

What do you think of this paraphrase? Does it accurately convey the gist of the original? Here is that, for your convenience (Mark 3:20-27):

The crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke 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 his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

I think I need someone to turn Phil’s version of the scene into a comic strip, to really tell if it works. Actually, I really just want to see it illustrated.

But on a more academic note, I’m also curious why the accusation is so specific. Elsewhere Jesus is accused of being demon possessed, but without a specific demon being named. This demon is not known from other sources and so it cries out for more discussion and explanation than it has received.

Finally, let me mention something from my Sunday school class, where we have been studying the Gospel of John, and were up to a passage in which Jesus is accused of being demon possessed – and a Samaritan. I noted that Jesus doesn’t even dignify the latter accusation with a response. I suspect that the accusation was based on Jesus’ association with Samaritans (and perhaps also his telling a story that featured one as the hero). Jesus refuses to deny that he is a Samaritan, since doing so appears to grant that this is an insult.

That story in John 8 deserves to be animated too. Maybe it will be part of the 8-bit rendering that I happened across when looking to see if anyone has already turned these stories into comic strips?

Finally, here’s a comic strip version of the story in Mark by Andrias Taniwan:

 

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  • John MacDonald

    Taking another look at the passage, Jesus seems to be sarcastic here. Jesus is clearly doing God’s work with his power opposing Satan’s kingdom, so if Satan is giving him the power to do this, Satan is bringing about his own downfall. Hence, Jesus says “And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. “

    • Phil Ledgerwood

      That’s basically what I think as well.

  • Paul E.

    The specific accusation has fascinated me as well. If Beelelzebul is the Baalzebub, god of Ekron, as mentioned in @ Kings 1 (as seems pretty likely) then Ahaziah’s consultation about an injury may give a clue. Earlier in Mark 3, Jesus had healed a man with a withered hand (on the Sabbath), which was the reason the Pharisees and Herodians began to plot against him. The specific accusation then may well refer to Jesus’ healings, i.e. the conflation of a physical defect with demonic possession.

  • In the conservative Church of Christ I grew up in, preachers and teachers tended to avoid the “demon” passages in the gospels. Rarely came up in sermons or Sunday School.

    My guess is that they thought (consciously or subconsciously) that highlighting exorcism tales in the Bible would either [a] lead to Pentacostalism (contemporary charismatic gifts were frowned on by the C of C) or [b] lead to atheism (given that demon interactions are among the more bizarre and unbelievable portions of the New Testament).