MARK 1:21-45 (NIV – UK)
Jesus drives out an impure spirit
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out,24 ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’
25 ‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.’ 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Jesus heals many
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all who were ill and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Jesus prays in a solitary place
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’
38 Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ 39 So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Jesus heals a man with leprosy
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’
41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
THE COMPASSIONATE HEALER
Through these headings Jesus displays wonderfully that he is truly the Christ, the Divine Son who has power and sovereignty over creation. We also see his grace and his goodness.
Notice, though, that beautifully revealed here is Jesus’ disgust at the corruption of his creation – especially when it comes to sickness. A man with leprosy comes to Jesus and begs Jesus, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean’ (v. 40). Jesus’ response is telling: ‘Jesus was indignant’ (v. 41) – not at the man who had approached him, but because of the sickness in him – a sickness that was never part of his plan for creation. Some English versions translate it as ‘Jesus was moved with compassion). I suspect there may be a hint of both in there – indignant at the injustice that has crept into his creation, and moved with compassion at the plight of the man.
Jesus’ response is to instantly heal the man, saying ‘I am willing’. If we approach Jesus in humility he is always willing – he will reach out his healing hand to us – spiritually (and sometimes physically) now, and one day physically once and for all when we receive a new body – being raised with Jesus.
Question: In what ways have you felt Jesus’ healing in your life – spiritually, emotionally or physically?