Saturday, 6 February 2010

Mark 1:21-45 - The mission kicks off!

I'm an activist.  Lots of people are.  But it's so common for people to get so busy that they eventually burn out.  Doing lots of good is no good if it doesn't last.  In the rest of chapter 1 of Mark we see something like the first 24 hours of Jesus' ministry.  He's incredibly busy doing incredible things but with incredible strength.  You'll see what I mean...

Mark 1:21-45

Verses 21-28...  So right after calling a few followers they head off to Capernaum and then the sabbath comes and ironically that's when Jesus starts to get really busy!  He starts teaching people and what he says has a ring of authority about it (it would do I suppose!) and the people notice there's something different about this teacher.  And when they see him order a demon out of a man and it leaves him, they know this authority is real (as did the demon).  The news of Jesus' teaching and authority start spreading fast and it's still day 1! 

Verses 29-34... Straight after synagogue it's back to Simon and Andrew's house and Jesus heals their mother-in-law of a fever and spends the rest of the day healing the sick and driving out demons.  News had spread so fast since that afternoon at the synagogue that there was a stream of people arriving to ask for help already!  This is an incredible first day.

Verses 35-39... Here we see the source of Jesus strength.  You would think he'd want a lie-in after the night before but he's up while it's dark and gets some uninterrupted time alone with God to pray.  Jesus needed to draw strength from his Father and depended on him for guidance and power for everything he was doing (see John 5:19).  When his followers find him, they set off for another full day of teaching, healing and driving out demons from people (and Jesus is ready for it).

Verses 40-45... And then we see one example of someone Jesus healed that day - a leper.  The word 'indignant' (v41) is that strange Greek word 'splagchnizomai' which means the strongest kind of emotion like a gut-wrenching compassion or righteous anger.  This is Jesus' reaction to seeing this leper and hearing what he says: 'If you are willing...' (v40).  Of course Jesus is willing(!) and this is why he came - to heal broken people and rescue them from the mess that sin has made in this world.  His heart is breaking about it and it drives everything he's doing.

So it's a crazy first 24 hours or so and Jesus is mostly teaching, healing and driving out demons.  Word is spreading about him like wildfire around the region.  Jesus is relying heavily upon his Father and his heart is breaking for all the people he's with.

The first point for us is to notice is that these are the actions of someone unique that we should pay close attention to.  That's why we're reading Mark's gospel I hope.  What strikes you about Jesus so far?  Imagine you were there when this stuff was happening.  What would you be thinking?  Who would you be telling about it?  Don't just read through this quickly - stop and think about it for a few minutes!

The second point is for those of us today who are following Jesus.  What are our busy days like?  Are we drawing our strength from time alone with God?  Are we busy doing the important things his heart breaks over?  Do our hearts break too?  Is the news of Jesus spreading like wildfire because of our daily actions?  If the Spirit of Jesus is in us, maybe our Mondays should be like this one!

Mark blog