This morning I read the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel and was struck by how fast paced it was. Two words jumped out “immediately” and “straightway”. It was like Mark was not wasting any time. He wanted to get down to business–straight to the point–the action. Its swift narrative portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker (Wikipedia).
Many things happen in this chapter. John was baptizing people who wanted to repent of their sins–preparing them for the Messiah. Jesus comes and he baptizes him. Straightaway Jesus is taken to the wilderness where He spent forty days and forty nights. All Mark wrote of event was, “And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.” He didn’t go into great detail like Luke. Mark was more interested in what Jesus did after He left the wilderness.
He glossed over a few things–John’s imprisonment, Jesus preaching in Galilee, Andrew and Peter immediately leaving their nets and following Him and John and James leaving their father, ship and nets to follow Him and them going to Capernaum where Jesus, straightaway went to the synagogue to preach on the Sabbath. Here Mark settles for a while to give an account of Jesus’ first exorcism.
A man had an unclean spirit which recognized Jesus calling Him, “the Holy One of God.” As one of the fallen angels it knew who Jesus was. It thought that He had come to destroy them. Jesus rebuked the spirit and commanded it to come out of the man. It did and all who were present were so amazed. that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” Immediately Jesus’ fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
After Jesus and His disciples left the synagogue, they went to Peter’s house but his mother in law was sick with a fever. As soon as they told Him, Jesus went to her side. He took her hand and immediately the fever left her. And feeling better, she got up and served them. All that evening Jesus healed people with diseases and those who were possessed. While He cast them out, He did not allow the evil spirits to speak because they knew who He was.
Jesus managed to get away and pray in a solitary place. After that He went throughout Galilee preaching and casting out evil spirits. The story which touched me was the leper who went to Him and said, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Notice, he didn’t say, “If You can, make me clean.” He knew that Jesus could make him clean. Jesus was more than willing. He showed this poor man who was treated as an outcast compassion. Jesus touched him, something no one would have dared to do. Lepers were stoned and people would cry out, “Unclean, unclean” when they saw them.
Jesus touched this man and told Him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the man was cured of leprosy. He was cleansed. Jesus gave him instructions not to say anything to anyone but to go and show himself to a priest. The man, however, couldn’t contain the good news of what the Lord had done for him. He went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places.
In the opening chapter of his Gospel, Mark introduced us to a Savior who was truly a Hero. He preached the life-saving truth, He healed the sick and He delivered the tormented. He was compassionate and delighted to help people. This is the Jesus Mark wanted us to meet. This is the Son who went about doing the work of His Father. This is the Messiah everyone was waiting for. This is the Savior who came into the world to make fishers out of men and to bring light into a dark world. We got a real look at the day in life of Jesus. Many people came to Him and He took care of them all. No one was turned away. This is the kind of Savior, Lord and Friend we have in Jesus. We know that when we go to Him in need, He will have compassion for us and will not hesitate to help us.
This week we will be reflecting on His life, ministry and death and rejoicing over His resurrection.