1. Look up the Greek term "blasphēmeō" found in
Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:29-30;
Luke 12:10 and define the term.
The common use of the verb "blasphēmeō" during the first century generally meant to "speak harm"
in the context of to bring ill repute or slander. The noun form generally meant profane language, slanderous speech
or defamation by which another person is damaged.
In the religious context of the Greeks, it meant to falsely represent a deity in order to debase
the authority of the deity.
Human beings can insult the Holy Spirit.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there
no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which
will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of
two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the
Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted
the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge
His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
3. Study the context of the passages in Matthew 12:31,
Mark 3:29-30, and Luke 12:10.
Can you determine the meaning of blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Why is this sin unpardonable?
When Jesus speaks about the unpardonable sin, to whom is He speaking to? In all three instances
(Matt 12:31, Mark 3:29-30,
Luke 12:10), Jesus is speaking specifically of the Pharisees the
teachers of the Law.
Matthew 12 provides the best data to understand
the context of the Jesus’ comment about the unpardonable sin. Preceding His comment about the blasphemy of the Holy
Spirit, Jesus performs a miraculous healing; He frees a demon possessed man and restores his vision and ability to
speak (Matt 12:22).
The miraculous act itself was, by any standard, a wonderfully good event. Though Jesus worked
through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:28), Jewish teachers
of the Law attributed to the power of Satan (Matt 12:24;
Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15).
Contrary to the Pharisees’ judgment, Jewish eyewitnesses of the miracle were amazed and
perceived it as the work of the Messiah, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" The Jews recognized that
certain miracles could only be done by God such as healing a leper
(Mark 1:40-45; Num 12:10-13;
2 Kings 5:1-14) and healing those who were blind from birth
From the very beginning of His ministry in Nazareth, Jesus informed the Pharisees that He was
the Messiah and attributed the source of His authority (Luke 4:16-21)
to the Spirit of God. His partial quotation of Isaiah also indicated what He will do in His ministry:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."
As teachers of the Law, the Pharisees knew quite a bit about the Holy Spirit. They knew that
the Spirit of God was involved with: Creation (Gen 1:1-2),
Creation of man (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7),
and indwelt among His people and enabled them to bring glory to God (Isa 63:11-14).
Thus to attribute the work of the Spirit of God as to the power of Satan by those who are best
qualified to know about the work of the Holy Spirit is a very slanderous offense. And while it was intended to
discredit Jesus as Messiah, the Pharisees also intended to maintain their credibility as teachers of the Law.
Jesus’ rebuke (Matt 12:30-36) is a judgment
of the Pharisees’ hardness of heart: blind for their unwillingness to see the miracles as a demonstration of His
deity and deaf for their unwillingness to listen to the truth of His words. And His rebuke extends to all who
would know of the Spirit of God (at this time the Jews) and blasphemes Him.
There is a consistent theme in that a higher standard is held for teachers of God’s word including
parents (James 3:1; Matt 18:6;
John 9:40-41). Regarding this blasphemy, Jesus is holding
accountable the teachers of the Law who know the Old Testament but who willfully deceive others about the work
of the Holy Spirit. While blasphemy of Jesus is forgivable, less discernible is the reason for this judgment of
those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If anything it calls to attention the sacred and special significance of the
Spirit of God who plays an integral role in the supernatural testimony of the Trinity including the human conception