Devotional #7 (11/5/12). Jesus starts His ministry healing people and casting out demons.
Intro: Last week Jesus was baptized which showed approval by the other Persons of God (the Father and Holy Spirit) and was tempted by Satan. Jesus started His ministry and called Simon, Andrew, James and John to be His disciples. Now we will see that Jesus starts teaching and healing.
This Week’s Reading: Mark 1:21-45.
vv. 21-22. So Jesus goes into the church (“synagogue”) and starts to preach and it says that everyone was amazed (“astonished”) at His teaching. This was because He spoke with authority. He knew the words written in the Bible since Jesus is God, He inspired men to write them! It says that He explained everything well “not as the scribes.” This is a big “slap in the face” to the scribes who spent their whole lives studying the Bible. It’s not just that they were men but it was that they were prideful and thought they knew everything but were hypocritical. To be a hypocrite means that you say one thing and do the opposite. Jesus knew the Bible, explained it correctly and then lived by it, as we should strive to do with His power!
vv. 23-24. We hear the story of a demon possessed man who interestingly was in the church (“synagogue”). It seems that the church leaders didn’t have the power or the desire to get rid of the demon. What does the demon say when confronted by the real power in Jesus? There is immediate fear, basically saying “I’m not bothering you but do you want to destroy me?” The word “destroy” here in the Greek means “to kill or give over to eternal misery in hell” (Source 1). And then the demon can’t help but praise Jesus saying “Holy One of God!” This reminds me of Philippians 2:10-11 when all men will praise God whether they want to or not.
vv. 25-28. Jesus tells the demon to be quiet because he didn’t want even more rumors to spread that He was talking with demons as friends (Source 2). Then we see Jesus make the demon stop hurting the man but not everyone understood what was happening. Some people didn’t think that Jesus’ power came from God but maybe from Satan. So because of these types of situations Jesus became famous.
vv. 29-31. Mark uses the word “immediately” a lot because he wants to keep our attention and show how quickly things happened. So Jesus and some of His disciples go to Simon’s (or as most of us call him, “Peter”) house and his mother-in-law was really sick. Jesus heals her and notice the first thing that she does. She serves them. One theme that Mark uses is that Jesus served others. So what is our response of gratitude when we are helped? Is it to serve? Are you thankful for having food to eat? Then serve homeless people dinner. Are you thankful that Jesus saved you from your sin? Then serve others and share Jesus’ love!
vv. 32-34. By the evening of that day word had spread that Jesus was healing the sick so they started coming to see Him. Also he continued getting rid of demons but He wouldn’t let them speak because “they knew Him”. This means they would have told everyone that He was the Messiah and because everyone thought the Messiah was going to overthrow the Romans they would have tried to make Him king but it wasn’t time for that yet.
vv. 35-38. Jesus gives us a model for how our day should start. By praying to God and reading our Bible first thing in the morning. I used to have trouble with this because I was too sleepy but now I know it is worth the sacrifice. A good way to look at it is if I need to work on something I bring a toolbox full of tools. I can’t go to school or work each morning and not have any tools in my toolbox. God wants to give us tools to deal with our day each morning. We know that it made Jesus really tired to serve others but He still got up early to pray.
In verse 38 Jesus says He came to earth to preach. This means Jesus preach the gospel, the good news that He had come to save people from their sins. He didn’t want to keep this in one town but wanted to spread to as many people as possible. He could have stayed and healed some peoples physical sicknesses but it was more important to leave and heal everyone’s eternal spiritual illnesses!
vv. 39-44. Here Jesus is preaching (His purpose in coming to earth according to verse 38) and a man with leprosy came for healing. Leprosy was a common disease during Bible times which turned a person’s skin white and made piece of their body fall off (Source 3). The man showed faith by saying that he believed Jesus could heal him if Jesus wanted to. Notice Jesus “touched him,” which was forbidden by law and then healed him. Why did Jesus command the man not to tell anyone and go straight to the priest? Because He didn’t want to seem like He didn’t abide by the law (the “things which Moses commanded”). But more importantly because it would be “a testimony to [the priests and religious leaders]” that “an incurable disease had been cured” (Source 4). Jesus made the cure “official” by going through the priests because they would have to acknowledge that the impossible had been done.
v. 45. But the man doesn’t do what Jesus asked because he is so excited to be healed. Another reason Jesus had asked the man to not tell everyone was so that He could continue moving easily through the cities and preach and heal. But now the more people knew where Jesus was the more crowds surrounded Him. So Jesus goes out of the city and people still followed Him. It’s important to understand that Jesus wasn’t running away from them, in fact He never complained but always served them lovingly.
Summary: The stories we have heard show us what a servant Jesus was which is even more amazing knowing that He was God! But that is why Jesus came to earth. To tell everyone that they could not get to heaven on their own but that only God coming in human flesh to be a servant and die for their sins would save them. Thank God He rose from the dead and desires to heal everyone’s eternal spiritual illnesses!
Source 1: Blueletterbible App. Under Mark 2:24.
Source 2: MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1459.