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Mark 034 - Bet the Farm

Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

Mark 3:28-30

Sports betting seems to have almost come out of nowhere. What was once reserved for dark, smoke-filled backrooms of bars, or restricted to Las Vegas casinos, is now everywhere. Every sport, and I mean every sport not only recognizes betting, but they even advertise on televised broadcasts.

With the touch of a button your phone, you can place a bet on just about anything, anywhere. From betting on actual games to fantasy leagues, from football, boxing, European football, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, horseracing. You can bet on college games the same way you wager on professional sports.

Is it any wonder that state governments are licking their chops over sports betting? New Jersey along collected over $100 million in tax revenue in 2021[1].

While Jesus never directly talked about sports betting, he did talk about things that were absolutely certain. Things that you could count on, things that were a sure bet. Things that you could depend on, things that you could bet your life on.

That’s exactly what Jesus says about people being forgiven. It’s an absolute truth, it’s a sure thing that we can be forgiven for everything and anything. But Jesus adds something that can’t be forgiven, blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. And how does Jesus define this sin? It’s when you continually go on and on about Jesus being filled and controlled by an impure spirit.

This is not just saying the words, or even thinking them in your head. This is when you’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus is really a representative of all that is evil, and that he’s controlled by dark spirits. You may have looked at the evidence or not, but you’ve come to the decision that Jesus is in league with, in partnership with Satan.

If you come to the end of your life and are still convinced that Jesus is filled by a demon, then your eternal destiny is sealed. But until that moment, there is time for repentance.

There were two thieves crucified next to Jesus. They were probably guilty of trying to overthrow the Romans, along with Barabbas. And after they were crucified, they joined in with the crowd and mocked Jesus[2].

But sometime later, while still hanging on the cross, one of the thieves had a change of heart. One thief was still spewing anger and bitterness at Jesus while the other says words that point to where his inner soul is moved.

“We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:41,42

If it was me, I’d probably tell him that he was right. He was being punished because of what he did. He deserved it and should hang there for a long time, dying a slow and painful death. But not Jesus.

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:43

They had broken both man’s laws and God’s laws. There was no doubt about their guilt. The evidence was overwhelming. And yet, when this one guy came to the end of himself, he turned to Jesus.

I don’t know where you find yourself. How close or far you’ve come or strayed from God. If you find yourself at the end of your spiritual, emotional, or even physical rope, then it’s time to turn to Jesus.

There is no better time than right now. Turn to Jesus. Turn to him to be at peace with God. Turn to him to be in paradise with him. And that change starts today.

It doesn’t take any great words or sacrifice on our part. We don’t have to stand up in front of a crowd and make a speech, get baptized, or anything else. It’s a turning towards Jesus, and it happens right where we are.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace[3].

[1] [2] Matthew 27:44 [3] Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus, Helen Howarth Lemme, 1922


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