19 February 2013

Mark 1:29-39

"And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons." (v. 34)


Today's passage provides more evidence of Jesus' power as a healer and an exorcist. A particular example of healing is described, with named witnesses. Then we are told that this was just one of many occasions when Jesus' power was revealed in this way.

The longed for Jewish Messiah was expected to achieve a decisive victory over evil and bring freedom from the occupying forces, together with universal peace, justice and righteousness by imposing his rule on everyone. What we find instead is a series of minor, often quiet, victories which are carried out within individual people on a one-to-one basis. The freedom Jesus brought (and still brings) was from feelings of guilt, anger and regret; from fears, desires and prejudices; from sickness and uncleanness of body and mind that made people socially and religiously undesirable - all things which limited people's humanity. Instead of great acts of power he worked through small acts of love.

With so much power going out of him, Jesus needed times of solitude and prayer (verse 35) to recharge his batteries, reaffirm his calling and his spiritual union with God, and to reassure himself of the Father's presence and support. It's a useful reminder that none of us can be effective for very long, if we rely on our own strength and don't renew and reinvigorate (and possibly re-evaluate) our faith.

Following this time of prayer and reflection, Jesus decides that it is time to move on. He is popular and being very successful where he is; but staying where he is comfortable, recognised and appreciated is not what he is called to do. His mission is much broader; and there are many who need to hear the good news of the coming of thekingdomofGodand to change their lives.

To Ponder

  • Jesus had a clear sense of mission and of the priorities within that. How true is that of the Church as a whole and for us as individuals?
  • When did you last recognise the presence of God in a small act of love? Or are you waiting for something more dramatic?
  • How do you recharge your spiritual batteries?
  • In what ways does your call to mission lead you to venture outside your spiritual and physical comfort zone?

Bible notes author

Philip Sudworth

Philip has retired from a career in the education service. He is now kept busy by voluntary work with local children's charities.