Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 20

BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Greg Waddell

“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” (Luke 12:10, ESV).

This verse has caused many people to wonder if they have


committed the unpardonable sin.

Some may hesitate about accepting Christ because they


fear they have done something so bad that God could
never forgive them.

What did Jesus mean when he said these words?

The key to answering that question is to do something


people seldom do when they read the Bible. We must
consider what was intended by the original author and
how it would have been understood by the original
audience.

The answer is somewhat complex, so bear with me as we


will be looking at several related texts.

I. INTRODUCTION TO LUKE 12:10


A. This verse is located within the longest section of
Luke.

This section, covering 11 chapters, gives the most


detailed description of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem.
e1f
B. The verse we are looking at is part of a subsection
where Jesus is giving instructions to his disciples
about the cost of discipleship in light of the
rejection they will face from religious leaders.

C. Luke 12:10 is sandwiched between two statements


that give the verse its context.

1. Acknowledging and denying (vv. 8-9)

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me


before men, the Son of Man also will
acknowledge before the angels of God, but the
one who denies me before men will be denied
before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8–9).

2. Holy Spirit will teach you

“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, for the Holy Spirit will teach
you in that very hour what you ought to say”
(Luke 12:11–12).

e2f
D. It is between these two statements that we find
the words:

“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.” (Luke 12:10, ESV)

E. Thesis

This morning I want to explore the original


meaning of these words as Luke (the author)
intended them to be understood by his original
audience.

II. COMMON INTERPRETATIONS


A. Attributing evil to the actions of God

"Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has to do with


accusing Jesus Christ of being demon-possessed
instead of Spirit-filled."1

In other words, this interpretation says that the


blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing to the
devil a work of the Holy Spirit.

e3f
I think this understanding misses the point. The
people Jesus was talking about were speaking
against him, not against the Holy Spirit. The Spirit
had not yet been given. These are the teachings of
Jesus they are rejecting. The hour of the Spirit is yet
to come.

B. Another interpretation frequently offered is that it


refers to a state of continued unbelief. As one
commentator puts it:

"The Spirit currently convicts the unsaved world of


sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). To
resist that conviction and willfully remain
unrepentant is to 'blaspheme' the Spirit."2

Again, while this is true--in fact it is a truism--it is


not what Jesus was referring to precisely.

C. There are three problems with these


interpretations.

1. They fail to look at the text through the eyes of


Luke.

They fail to look at the literary context in which


they occur. In other words, they don’t try to
understand the significance of these words
within the overall argument of the Luke-Acts
narrative.

e4f
2. They fail to look at the text through the eyes of
the Old Testament and its fulfillment.

Throughout the book of Luke and the Acts of the


Apostles, we see that one of Luke's purposes in
writing is to demonstrate that the Jesus
movement is a direct and logical outflow of Old
Testament promises. To interpret any statement
in Luke-Acts, we must ask ourselves how it is
related to the Old Testament scriptures.

3. The third problem with these common


interpretations is they are too General.

I contend that these interpretations are too


general, too universal. . . . that Luke has in mind
something much more specific.

III. FULFILLMENT
A. One of Luke's main purposes was to demonstrate
how God was fulfilling OT promises made to Israel.

In the first verse of his Gospel, Luke tells us exactly


what he is trying to do.

He says he is compiling “a narrative of the things


that have been accomplished among us” (Luke
1:1).

e5f
B. The word translated “accomplished,” is the same
Greek word that is often translated “fulfilled.”

Luke is trying to show that everything that Jesus


did, everything he taught, and everything that
happened to him were predicted by the OT
prophets.

IV. THE SPIRIT


A. One of the main features of the Old Testament
promise was the outpouring of the Spirit.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I


will put within you. And I will remove the heart of
stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to
walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my
rules” (Ezekiel 36:26–27).

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and


streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit
upon your offspring, and my blessing on your
descendants” (Isaiah 44:3).

“until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and


the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the
fruitful field is deemed a forest. Then justice will
dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in
the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will
be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness
and trust forever” (Isaiah 32:15–17).
e6f
B. Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

“John answered them all, saying, ‘I baptize you with


water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the
strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He
will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’” (Luke
3:16).

Luke expressly ties this promise to the outpouring


of the Spirit in Acts upon the house of Cornelius.

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them


just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered
the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized
with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy
Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he
gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus
Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
(Acts 11:15–17).

C. Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost

1. The Spirit is poured out.

“And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them


and rested on each one of them. And they were
all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak
in other tongues as the Spirit gave them
utterance” (Acts 2:3–4).

e7f
2. This outpouring of the Spirit was a fulfillment of
OT prophecy

“But this is what was uttered through the


prophet Joel: “ ‘And in the last days it shall be,
God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all
flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall
prophesy, and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams; even on
my male servants and female servants in those
days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall
prophesy” (Acts 2:16–18, a reference to Joel
2:28-29).

3. The outpouring of the Spirit is tied to the


ascension and enthronement of Jesus.

“Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God


and having received from the Father the promise
of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you
yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:33).

The outpouring of the Spirit was concomitant


with the exaltation of Jesus to the throne of
David through his resurrection and ascension to
his heavenly throne.

e8f
V. FORGIVENESS
A. Together with the gift of the Spirit, God offers
forgiveness to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

“And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized


every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the
gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and
for your children and for all who are far off,
everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself'”
(Acts 2:38–39).

The coming of the Spirit is an opportunity for Israel


to repent and be forgiven of their rejection of the
son and all the blasphemies they hurled at him.

B. While on the cross, Jesus prayed for the Father to


give his executioners a second chance.

“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they


know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34a).

C. The reason they are given a second chance is that


they acted in ignorance.

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in


ignorance, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17).

Peter spoke these words during his speech from


Solomon's colonnade--after the healing of the
Lame man.
e9f
Peter points out that they had denied the Holy and
righteous one and killed the author of life (3:13-
14).

But they had acted in ignorance. Like Jesus said on


the cross, “They know not what they are doing.”

But now God is giving them a second chance to


respond appropriately through faith and
repentance.

1. The law provided forgiveness for unintentional


sins (Numbers 15:27-31).

2. Now it is time to repent.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins


may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may
come from the presence of the Lord, and that he
may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the time for
restoring all the things about which God spoke
by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts
3:19–21).

VI. A SECOND CHANCE


A. Luke presents this coming of the Spirit and
consequent offering of forgiveness as a second
chance for the Jews of Jerusalem to enter God's
promised time of refreshing. One biblical scholar
describes it this way:
e 10 f
"Peter was offering the Jerusalem Jews a second
chance. Once they had disowned the Christ. It was,
however, a rejection in ignorance. Now they could
accept Christ and be forgiven. Should they fail to
do so once Peter gave them a full understanding of
Christ’s true identity, it would be a wholly different
matter, a deliberate, ‘high-handed’ rejection."3

B. Jesus introduced the idea of a second chance


through the parable of the fig tree.

“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and


he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he
said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now
[the length of Jesus’ earthly ministry] I have come
seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it
down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he
answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I
dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should
bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you
can cut it down'" (Luke 13:6–9).

C. Remember what Jesus said:

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of


Man will be forgiven.”

Now, in the book of Acts, we see God offering to


forgive all their previous blasphemies against the
son of man.

e 11 f
D. Tragedy: The Jewish response

1. Many Jews believed and were saved.

“And when they heard it, they glorified God. And


they said to him, “You see, brother, how many
thousands there are among the Jews of those
who have believed. They are all zealous for the
law” (Acts 21:20).

These are the words of the Christian leaders in


Jerusalem to Paul upon his return to Jerusalem.

2. However, the majority of the Jews in Jerusalem,


and in particular the Jewish leadership, rejected
Christ, leading Stephen to declare:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart


and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As
your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51).

3. The same was true almost every time Paul


preached in the synagogues.

e 12 f
“When Silas and Timothy arrived from
Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
And when they opposed and reviled him, he
shook out his garments and said to them, 'Your
blood be on your own heads! I am innocent.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles'” (Acts
18:5–6).

Note that the word translated “reviled” in this


text is the same word that is translated
“blaspheme” in Luke 12:10.

4. Paul's final message in Acts 28

Paul calls a meeting with the Jewish leaders in


Rome. Explains to them the false charges against
him.

“For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see


you and speak with you, since it is because of the
hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain” (Acts
28:20).

He goes on from morning till evening


expounding to them and testifying about the
kingdom of God

"and trying to convince them about Jesus both


from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets"
(28:23b).

e 13 f
The response was mixed. Some were convinced
but others disbelieved. But then Paul made a
statement that caused them all to leave. Quoting
from the prophet Isaiah, he said:

"The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your


fathers through Isaiah the prophet: ‘Go to this
people, and say, you will indeed hear but never
understand, and you will indeed see but never
perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear, and
their eyes they have closed; lest they should see
with their eyes and hear with their ears and
understand with their heart and turn, and I
would heal them” (Acts 28:25–27).

The tragedy is that Israel rejected their second


chance. They blasphemed against the Holy Spirit.
For this there would be no more offer of
forgiveness.

So, God turns to the Gentiles.

“Therefore, let it be known to you that this


salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles;
they will listen” (Acts 28:28).

e 14 f
E. The terminology Luke uses to describe the Jewish
rejection is that of blasphemy.

Remember, this word BLASPHEMEO, conveys the


idea of uncontrolled rage, often resulting in violent
assault. This is why it is often translated "to revile"
or to "slanderously charge" or to "denounce," to
"speak evil of" and to "malign."

“But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were


filled with jealousy and began to contradict what
was spoken by Paul, reviling him” (Acts 13:45).

The word "reviling" is the same word that is


translated "blasphemes" in Luke 12:10.

“And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook


out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be
on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I
will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).

Again, the word "reviled" is the word blaspheme.

Paul admits that--before his conversion--he too


tried to incite the Jews to blaspheme, which he
interprets at acting "in raging fury" against the
apostles.

e 15 f
“And I punished them often in all the synagogues
and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging
fury against them I persecuted them even to
foreign cities” (Acts 26:11).

We see this rage in the Jew's response to Stephen's


speech, a rage that incited them to murder one of
God's eminent preachers.

“Now when they heard these things they were


enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.” (Acts
7:54, ESV)

“They cried out with a loud voice and stopped their


ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast
him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:57–
58a).

e 16 f
VII. CONCLUSION
A. Jesus’ words about the blasphemy of the Holy
Spirit are a specific warning to the Jewish people in
Jerusalem in the time of Christ.

All the wicked, terrible things they said about Jesus


and all the evil things they ended up doing to him
would be forgiven. Because it was done in
ignorance. But the time will come, when the Spirit
is poured out and his empowered spokesmen will
testify about the risen exalted king Jesus. This will
be a second chance for Israel. Now we are in the
age of the Spirit and the offer of forgiveness comes
from the Holy Spirit. If they rail against this second
chance, they will not be forgiven.

B. Does this mean that the Jews are all hopelessly


lost?

No. This was a warning to a specific generation in a


specific place (Jerusalem). Because of their
rejection of the Messiah, the coming doom for
Jerusalem could not be averted.

And so it was that in year A.D. 70, God allowed the


Roman legions to invade and utterly destroy the
city of Jerusalem.

e 17 f
C. Summary

1. In Luke and Acts, Luke is showing how Jesus and


the Christian movement are direct outcomes of
Old Testament promises.

2. One of those promises was the outpouring of the


Holy Spirit.

3. Included in that promise was the promise of


forgiveness and restoration.

4. This promise was fulfilled on the Day of


Pentecost and throughout the period covered by
the book of Acts as God again and again offers
his people Israel the chance to repent and be
forgiven.

5. Ultimately, that generation of Jews, by and large,


rejected what the Holy Spirit was doing and
consequently their nation was destroyed. They
blasphemed against the Holy Spirit and they
were not forgiven for that.

VIII. APPLICATION: HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?


A. Gratitude

Thankful that God has given us his Spirit. That we


are not alone in the struggle to live and proclaim
the truth about Jesus.

e 18 f
B. Courage

The Holy Spirit continues to give his people


boldness to speak out. We must not back down
from our proclamation. There are elements in our
nation today who want to silence the church
forever. If these people ever get into power, we
will be living in an America unlike anything we have
ever seen before. We need the empowerment of
the Holy Spirit more than ever.

C. Fear.

Some fear is appropriate here. When God gives us


a second chance, we had better respond
appropriately.

D. Recognition

We should be able to recognize the sorts of


behavior that are similar to blasphemy.
Uncontrolled rage against anyone who speaks the
truth about anything.

e 19 f
1
Houdmann, S. Michael. “What Is the Blasphemy
against the Holy Spirit?” GotQuestions.Org. Accessed
August 2, 2018.
https://www.gotquestions.org/blasphemy-Holy-
Spirit.html.
2
Houdmann
3
John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American
Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers,
1992), 133.

e 20 f