Healing

Mark 1:21-45

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.

Reflection

Perhaps like me you have read biblical accounts of deliverance (by this I mean casting out of evil spirits) and wondered whether this type of healing ministry still happens today. It’s not exactly every day that we see people screaming and convulsing as we read of here… But in the gospels, we see countless accounts of Jesus’ power and authority in driving out evil spirits with a few words – and see the disciples replicating this (Luke 10:17).

Through my work in West Africa I have seen real evidence of witchcraft and demonic forces in action, but today, in rational Western culture it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the possibility of “spiritual evil”. We think of Ghostbusters or sexy Halloween devil costumes.

For me, this changed when praying for a friend of ours who felt demonised by a presence that made her act like a dog (amongst other things). I was struck by the reality of the spiritual battle that we are in as I came face to face with the demonic in London.

The bible is clear that the devil is REAL (1 Peter 5:8) but we know that Jesus’ death and resurrection has defeated Satan (Colossians 1:13). Not only has Jesus defeated the Devil, He has GIVEN US the authority to overcome him too (Luke 10:18-19). While it was not an immediate transformation with my friend, God did bring spiritual release and there was clear authority in the name of Jesus. It certainly made me rethink the truth of other biblical statements that I’d perhaps dismissed.

Are there things you read in the Bible generally and in this passage that you struggle to believe? Like the Leper in v40/41, bring them before Jesus who can open our eyes to their reality.
Marina Johnson mother of little Elsa!
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