MAIN TEXT: MARK 1:29-34
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons.And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Mark is on a mission, to show the world that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah. His readers understood the humanity side of Jesus, but the claims that He was the Son of God needed supporting evidence and unmistakable testimony. Mark shows from the beginning of his gospel that he is going to write a history of who Jesus was and what He did.
So, Mark begins at the very start of his gospel account saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Then he begins by talking about the Old Testament promised forerunner, John the Baptist, who would come to prepare the way. We then see the baptism of Jesus. At which point, the heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends on him like a dove, the Father’s voice thunders out of heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”
Immediately, Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted and he overcomes the primal temptation, harkening our attention back to the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Adam and Eve.
We come back to Galilee, and here we see Jesus proclaiming that the “Kingdom of God is at hand”. He calls four of his disciples, telling them “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” Jesus’ authority was shown when he taught in the synagogue and a demon possessed man began to proclaim the truth of Jesus. He shuts up the demon and casts the demon out of the man.
The Gospel of Mark is a very fast-paced account. We go from event to event with very short and to the point descriptions. In the first chapter, Mark uses the word “immediately” 11 times as we jump from event to event. We see here that “And immediately he left the synagogue…” Timing and custom would tell us that he left because there was a 12 o’clock midday meal, known as the main Sabbath meal. Peter’s house was near, and they headed there more than likely for a meal and rest.
JESUS CAME TO HEAL THE DISEASED
In verse 30, we realize they didn’t just invite Jesus over for a meal. Peter’s mother-in-law has a fever and they tell Jesus about it. Jesus walks over to her, grabs her by the hand and lifts her up, and the fever leaves her. Jesus heals her and immediately she begins to serve others. Serving is the way of Jesus and those who follow him, and so it describes an essential characteristic of the kingdom of God that Jesus exemplifies.
JESUS CAME TO DELIVER THE DEMONIZED
Jesus’ fame has spread throughout the area and it is apparent they know where he is spending his time. When the sun begins to go down, the Sabbath is over and the people begin to bring all their friends and relatives who are sick or oppressed by demons. They come to Peter’s doorstep. He heals them and casts out the demons.
Just as before, He does not let the demons speak. The demons know who He is, the Son of God, the Messiah. These two examples of not permitting the demons to speak are the beginning of many examples of Jesus concealing His identity from the public.
On three occasions demons are enjoined to silence (1:25; 1:34; 3:11). Jesus commands silence after four miracles (cleansing of a leper, 1:44; raising of a dead girl, 5:43; healing of a deaf-mute, 7:36; healing of a blind man, 8:26). Twice the disciples are commanded to silence (8:30; 9:9). Twice Jesus withdraws from crowds to escape detection (7:24; 9:30). Beyond these explicit admonitions to secrecy, Mark implies secrecy in other aspects of Jesus’ public ministry. But ironically, the command to silence often results in the opposite. James Edwards writes: “the more he [commanded to silence], the more they kept talking about it” (7:36; 1:45; 5:20; 7:24).”
Jesus shows and speaks of the mysteries of the kingdom plainly to His disciples, and to the public only in parables.
JESUS CAME TO SERVE AND SAVE
He wasn’t the kind of Messiah they would be looking for. They were looking for a political, military Messiah who would liberate them from Roman rule. It wasn’t only Israel that needed a Messiah, it was the whole world. Our greatest ailment is not sickness but sin, not demons but death. The world didn’t need a Messiah who would only liberate them from political oppression and healing from disease. We needed so much more. We needed a Messiah who would come to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. This is who Jesus is.
Jesus cared about people and their problems in public and in private. He also cares about our problems in this fallen, sin-drenched world. God knows that the sin and the hurt we live with is a constant reminder of our fallenness and humanity. God has remedied our hopeless condition by sending Jesus. Just as the sick and demon oppressed ran to him, so must we. We should be quick to serve Him and serve others out of grateful appreciation for such a wonderful Savior and such a marvelous salvation. It was a normal day in the life of Jesus.
However, it was anything but normal for those who encountered and experienced His saving power.
JESUS CAME SO THAT WE COULD LIVE.
APPLY TO LIFE
This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
DISCUSS THE MESSAGE
When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, He did not use any spells, incantations, or rituals. What does this say about His power and authority?
What is “therapeutic” Christianity? Can emphasis on physical deliverance distract Christians from the message of the gospel these days?
What kind of Messiah were the Jews expecting? What did they need? What about you?