Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mark 1:29–34

Mark 1:29–34 (ESV): Jesus Heals Many

Synopsis

In the last passage Jesus had healed a man with an unclean spirit, and in this passage he goes on to heal numerous other people. It starts with him going to Simon and Andrew’s house, along with James and John—you may recall that these four men are the disciples Jesus has called so far—but at the house he finds that Simon’s mother-in-law is ill with a fever. So Jesus takes her by the hand and lifts her up, and the fever leaves her and she begins to serve them.

That evening the whole city gathers at the house, bringing “all who were sick or oppressed by demons” (verse 32 (ESV)). Jesus heals many of them—the passage specifically says “many,” rather than “all,” but I don’t know if that’s significant—and prevents the demons from speaking “because they knew him” (verse 34 (ESV)).

Thoughts

The passage specifically mentions that the people waited until sundown before bringing people to Jesus to be healed, and the ESV Study Bible indicates that this was because of the Sabbath rules.

There are a couple of interesting things about this passage. One is a point that I’d alluded to in a previous post: Jesus wouldn’t let the demons speak, because they knew him—but for a long time I wondered, why was that a bad thing? Wouldn’t it be good for the demons to go around spreading the word that the Messiah had arrived? Based on various commentaries and sermons and whatnot I now believe this is because of timing: God had a particular time set aside when Jesus was going to be sacrificed, and if his fame spread too quickly the religious leaders would have made their move sooner. God was not yet ready for Jesus to die, so he didn’t.

The other interesting thing in this passage—and I’m betting that numerous sermons have been preached on this, although I think we need to be careful not to push the point too far—is that when Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law she immediately begins to serve him and the disciples. Is there a lesson in this for us? A metaphor? When Jesus heals us of our sins, we are to serve Him? It may be valid to make this connection, although I wouldn’t think we should put a lot of weight on it.
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