On Jesus’ Galilean tour, a man with leprosy came to Him, which is
a very bold move for a leper. This man experienced a pitiful existence due not only
to the physical ravages of the disease but also to the ritual uncleanness and
exclusion from society. Leprosy brought anguish at all levels: physical, mental,
social and, religious. It serves as an illustration of sin. Moved by compassion and
deep pity, Jesus touches the leprous man, demonstrating the fact He was not
bound by the rabbinic regulations of ritual defilement. Both this symbolic touch
and Jesus’ authoritative pronouncement makes the leprous man clean.
This week we learned how Jesus spent time in prayer affirming
His mission so that he would stay on task in proclaiming the good news of the
Kingdom of God. In Mark 1:35-39 the story begins with a late night of ministry
where Jesus heals a crowd of people. While it was still dark and early in the
morning Jesus snuck away to be alone and pray. The pressure upon Jesus to
continue healing the crowds must have been immense. Peter and the other
disciples found Jesus and pressured him to heal the crowd who had showed up
after Jesus left. While the crowds wanted Jesus to continue doing miracles, Jesus
stayed on mission by leaving the area to proclaim the good news to people who
had not heard.
On the Sabbath after Jesus has ministered in the synagogue we
see Him enter into Peter’s home and heal Peter’s mother in law. Jesus is not
content to stay within the confines of the religious order of his day but moves into
the world of Peter’s family where there is family; there is community; there are
neighbors. This is a world where illness and demon-possession are common. Jesus
demonstrates His authority as he heals the sick and drives out demons. Life is not
compartmentalized with Jesus.
In Mark 1:21-28, Mark focuses our attention by emphasizing the demon’s response to Jesus’ authoritative teaching in verse 24. The spiritual climate of the synagogue has gone stale as the religious leaders have become dull to hearing and blind to seeing God’s work in their midst. Many who witness this encounter between Jesus and the demon stand amazed at His powerful teaching. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh.
All of us on are on a spiritual journey. When we hear Jesus’ call to follow Him we are given an opportunity to respond in obedience or to reject Jesus. When Jesus called his first disciples in Mark 1:16-20, they responded immediately and completely leaving behind much of what they had known. Along the sea of Galilee Jesus says to Simon and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Embedded in Jesus’ call is the idea that Jesus will be creating through His followers a new kind of people who will participate with him in the rescue of those who are perishing. The sea was known as a place of judgment and fear. The people who are in the sea are destined for judgment and Jesus sets His followers to the urgent task of rescuing the perishing. No longer would the men strain to catch fish with nets, now they will strain and labor to remove people from eternal destruction by offering them new life in Jesus.