Sunday 07 February 2021

Bible Book:

‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do’ (v. 38)

Mark 1:29–39 Sunday 7 February 2021

Psalm 147


Mark begins his story of Jesus’ ministry with a ‘day in the life’ of Jesus. It’s something of a whirlwind – we only read part of the story today. Jesus’ day begins in the public space of the synagogue, where he preaches, teaches and heals, challenging traditional understanding of the Sabbath laws as he does so. Then the scene shifts to the private space where Peter’s mother-in-law is lying ill. Jesus is just as much at home here, in one-to-one pastoral ministry, as he heals her.

Then our reading from Mark's Gospel presents another contrast. After sunset, when the Sabbath is over, Jesus is in the midst of a heaving crowd, all eager to receive healing from him, and power flows from him to change these people’s lives – perhaps in these lockdown days we can understand their desperation and hope. But when the next dawn comes, he is completely by himself, alone in prayer.

 Is it this rhythm of life which makes up the process of proclaiming the message? Our ideas of proclamation are often tied to the spoken word in the public forum. Yet Jesus’ invitation to the disciples suggests that proclamation has a broader content. His whole way of life is focused on revealing God’s love, through a holistic pattern of word, healing and his walk with God. This takes him from public to private spaces and back again. It is seen both in his addresses to crowds and in personal conversations with people. It is underpinned by his own relationship with the Father and the time he makes for this.

Above all, proclamation is characterised by healing. Today in the 21st century, with our focus on physical cure, people find it difficult to grasp what healing meant in the first century. The word translated as ‘cure’ in v. 34 is therapeuo, which has obvious links to our own word ‘therapy’, and in New Testament times meant ‘serve’ and ‘heal’ just as much as ‘cure’. Jesus’ power to heal is, in the broadest sense, therapeutic: he enables people to find renewed ways of living through proclaiming the message in the way he himself lives. 

To Ponder:

  • Where do you see the message of Jesus being authentically proclaimed in your context?
  • What might Jesus’ healing look like in our situation?


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