The teachers of the Law, who had come down from Jerusalem, said, “He has Beelzebul in him! He drives the demons out by the help of their chief.”
a needed legal nicety
for a final solution
familial support broken
official arbiters engaged
it won’t be long
there’s always a diagnosis
devil is as devil does
an unbreakable tautology
Oops. Another quick shift that sandwiches in a related scene. This is a common Marcan technique, so always be ready for a story within a story.
Since Jesus’ larger family is Israel, this continues and expands an intra-family argument.
The House Un-Pharisaical Committee has sent a sub-committee to Capernaum to investigate extra-regular healings. This exacerbates the situation through accusation and provocation.
Jesus is out of his mind—possessed by the chief of the demons he is exorcising.
This accusation is not made once, but repeated and repeated as the concept of a Big Lie told over and over is as old as Eden. Just as in any other time of post-truth where anything can be made up without fear of challenge, life is about being the first to blame. In contemporary terms, Jesus is charged with having the mind of a terrorist for an amorphous terror is one that cannot be rationally rebutted.
In the polarized times of the late first century or here in the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is a typical power play to play one another off against the rest, weakening everyone. An early accusation to provoke a response of outrage is only too expected.
Without any notice we are back in the wilderness with a testing of a good message in a world for whom Jesus’ way is sheer insanity. Here only an authoritarian can oust an authoritarian, only political power will counter political power, and only a stronger military can defeat a strong military. While each of these are demonstratively false, they carry the weight of our fear experience to mean we will be one of the first to be destroyed unless we will excuse standing up for ourself or someone else with a claim that our use of power will put us in a better position to be kind later.
In the introduction of official investigators with an agenda that will justify their presence, we see a key element to making change—telling a better story by taking such entrenchment quite lightly.