This is a tough text from the Gospel today. Jesus says that “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness…” This seems to be an incongruous statement from Jesus, who came to be all about forgiveness. That he would withhold it from any sinner is shocking, I think.
But we have to remember what it is that Jesus was addressing here. The scribes who had come from Jerusalem catch up with Jesus and begin to make trouble for him. They are being obstinate in their unbelief, even to the point of being intellectually dishonest. They know that Satan cannot cast himself out, but that’s just what they’re accusing Jesus of being and doing. They would rather say foolish things than to believe that Jesus came to cast out sin and forgive sinners.
Salvation and forgiveness are a gift, and gifts must be accepted. If one refuses to be forgiven, he or she will never have forgiveness. If one refuses to believe that he or she needs a Savior, then he or she will never come at last to eternity.
May we never forget how much we need our Savior.