“Miracles Part 2: Power Over Sickness and Death” Mark 5:21-43
Christ’s Power Over Every Need The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series “Miracles Part 2: Power Over Sickness and Death” Mark 5:21-43
Christ’s Power Over Every Need
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series
Miracles Part 2: Power Over Sickness and Death
“A pastor I know, Stephey Bilynskyj, starts each confirmation class with a jar full of beans. He asks his students to guess how many beans are in the jar, and on a big pad of paper writes down their estimates. Then, next to those estimates, he helps them make another list: Their favorite songs. When the lists are complete, he reveals the actual number of beans in the jar. The whole class looks over their guesses, to see which estimate was closest to being right. Bilynskyj then turns to the list of favorite songs. “And which one of these is closest to being right?” he asks. The students protest that there is no “right answer”; a person’s favorite song is purely a matter of taste. Bilynskyj, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Notre Dame asks, “When you decide what to believe in terms of your faith, is that more like guessing the number of beans, or more like choosing your favorite song?” Always, Bilynskyj says, from old as well as young, he gets the same answer: Choosing one’s faith is more like choosing a favorite song. When Bilynskyj told me this, it took my breath away. “After they say that, do you confirm them?” I asked him. “Well,” smiled Bilynskyj, “First I try to argue them out of it.”
My Little Daughter (vv. 21-24a)
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
Having healed the Gerasene Demoniac and sending 2,000 pigs into the sea, Jesus was asked to leave the village across the lake by a crowd, and now they land back on the shore, and crowds once again surround him.
As we know from previous chapters in Mark, Jesus would address the crowds at the seashore, or even in a boat pulled off the shore. This was another great opportunity to teach and preach to the “great crowd gathered about him.” But “one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus” came and fell at his feet, and earnestly asked for help for his little daughter, who is about to die.
“Rulers of the synagogue” were laymen whose responsibility were administrative, not priestly, and included such things as looking after the building and supervising the worship (such as inviting people to speak).
(v. 23) “My little daughter is at the point of death” – Jairus is doing what any desperate parent would do, he falls at Jesus’ feet, he uses the term little daughter to express how important she is to him.
It would seem that Jesus’ ministry impact would be with the great crowd, but he left them to minister to one family.
My Daughter’s Faith (vv. 24b-34)
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
The woman mentioned here had “a discharge of blood for twelve years” and in an effort to be healed she went to many physicians, who had her do all sorts of things that caused her to “suffer[ed] much under” their care. So not only does she suffer under the physicians, she has spent all the money she had, and the issue has grown worse, not better.
She had paid money to receive instructions like, “carrying the ashes of an ostrich egg in a cloth.” Another instruction given would have been, “Set the woman in a place where. Two ways meet, and let her hold a cup of wine in her right hand, and let someone come from behind and frighten her, and say, ‘arise from thy flux.’” So, she hears about Jesus, and thinks “if I can just touch his clothes, then I may be healed.”
In the New Testament there were miracles resulting from having Peter’s shadow pass over you (Acts 5:15-16) or coming into contact with Paul’s handkerchief (Acts 19:12), and later it was a common practice to touch Jesus’ clothes to be healed (Mark 6:56). So almost from the beginning there is a need to clarify the difference between faith and relics (superstition).
Leviticus 15:25 “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. 26 Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity. 27 And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.” Uncleanliness was transferable – the “unclean” were not to touch the “clean (Lev. 5:3).”
(v. 25) This woman has been ceremonially unclean for over twelve years. An outcast, and alone, untouchable, for twelve years. “She was just as much an outcast as the demon-possessed man had been.” She would not be allowed to approach Jesus, to talk to Him was unthinkable.
“Uncleanness in Israel causes Yahweh to turn away his face, and without the saving presence the nation is doomed to exile and destruction (Ezek. 39:24).” So the leaders and the people as a whole think it is very important to keep the law, and to remain “clean.”
“And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” – We have already seen in Mark 4:12 Jesus’ explanation of the different soils and why He taught in parables, “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand,” and here in chapter 5 we see them touching but not receive healing. The disciples are saying “many are pressed up against you,” many have touched him but this woman stands out.
The disciples reproached Jesus in the boat during the storm, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” and here again, “You see the crowd . . .” Why is Jesus concerned about one person among all these people? Jesus’ response “reveals the glory of the gospel . . . “Behold what manner of love . . . , that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1).”
The disciples are focused on trying to get Jesus to Jairus’ daughter where the real emergency existed, but Jesus is slowing them down by worrying about someone in a dense crowd that touched him. This apparent silly question would only cause a delay. Jesus’ question was not to rebuke her, but to make personal contact with her. “She needed to know that it was not her superstition (touching objects or clothes) that saved her, but her faith that caused God to heal her.”
This woman has tried everything she can possibly do, in her own effort to be healed, and be ceremonially “clean” with God. It was her faith in Jesus that allowed her to be healed, and have the ability to enter into God’s presence. Jesus stops everything to make sure she understands that.
She is anticipating rebuke, chastisement, so she “came in fear and trembling and fell down before him . . .” “She knew Jesus’ power, but she did not yet know His heart.” This all-powerful Son of God, what is He like?
(v. 34) “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Jesus is claiming the same special relationship with her that Jairus had with his little daughter. Jairus does not want to lose his daughter to death, Jesus does not want to lose His daughter to her not understanding what truly healed her. No matter the pressures of the crowd/world you stop everything when your kids are hurting.
John 6:37 “. . . whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
“The word translated healed is sesoken (“saved”). Here both physical and theological salvation are in mind. “Go in peace” is a traditional Jewish formula for leaving-taking “shalom” but it is not just peace, as in peace from inward anxiety, but also in the sense of wholeness or completeness that comes from being brought into a right relationship with God.” Go knowing that you are right with God.
Little Girl Arise (vv. 35-43)
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jairus knows that his daughter is about to die, and he has two options. Stay and be with her when she dies (which is imminent) or go find Jesus – so he has found Jesus, but she dies before they can get back to the bedside.
Jesus overhears the conversation between Jairus and someone from his household, and says, “Do not fear, only believe.” Jairus has a choice of voices to listen to – someone from his household, or Jesus. It is always better to listen to hear what Jesus has to say about our situation, than anyone else.
Also, there is a finality on the friend’s remarks, “Why bother the teacher any further?” as if to say, “there is nothing that Jesus can do, now.” It’s too late. If Jesus decides to lay His hands upon something, then it is never too late. “Do not fear, only believe.”
When they arrive to Jairus’ home there were people, “weeping and wailing loudly.” The word for wailing is an onomatopoetic word, Alala – soldiers would yell this word when entering into battle, it is used for clanging symbols (1 Cor. 13:1), and it is used here to “refer to the sound of the monotonous wail of the hired mourners.”
These are paid mourners, who are yelling out this alala “The lamentations consisted of choral song, or antiphony, accompanied with hand clapping.” And flute and instrument playing, and people tearing their clothes.
The paid mourner’s reaction to Jesus saying, “The child is not dead but sleeping” is to laugh at him. To ridicule Him. Jesus asks the paid mourners to leave and only the parents, Jesus, Peter, James and John are there when she is healed – Why?
Some are entrusted with who Jesus is, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, and others are not. If Jesus knows you are not serious, but only pretending (like the paid mourners) then you will be sent away and will never experience the true miracle. The crowd who was looking on in curiosity were sent away, the paid mourners who lacked the faith that the father showed were sent away, even the other new disciples were sent out (leaving the inner three Peter, James, and John).
All three gospels mention that Jesus took her by the hand. He touches her. The father in v. 23 says, “Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” believing that it was his touch, but Jesus says, v. 36 “But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
(v. 42) “the girl got up and began walking” Walking (aorist tense) here means, she kept on walking around. “She kept on walking about, first possibly to her mother, then to her father, and then finding out what had happened to Jesus who had restored her to life.”
The healed woman with the blood discharge touched Jesus’ clothes. Jesus stops the woman and explains that it was the woman’s faith that saved her. Both of these stories are grounded on the word faith, believe.
Jesus does not care if the unclean touch him (blood issues or death), because He is the source of holiness. With His touch, all that defiles is gone. Nothing unclean can make him unclean by it’s touch. But Jesus can make clean anything that is unclean, “do not fear, only believe.”
There is nothing that is too far gone, that finding Jesus and asking Him to help will not make it better. In all three stories (the Gerasene Demoniac – unclean spirit, The woman with the blood discharge – bodily discharges, and the Jairus’ daughter – contact with the dead) all of these people were ceremonially unclean; but Jesus made them clean again, whole again, able to enter God’s presence again.
 Tim Stafford, Christianity Today, September 14, 1992, p. 36.
 Max Anders, General Editor, Holman New Testament Commentary, Mark (Nashville, Tennessee; Holman Reference, 2000) 87.
 W. N. Clarke, Commentary on the Gospel of Mark (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; Judson Press, 1950) 77.
 Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 1 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1930) 300.
 Unclean could make something unclean, but clean could not make something unclean, clean.
 Anders, 87.
 L.E. Tombs, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 1 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1980) 647.
 George Arthur Buttrick, Commentary Editor, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 7 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1980) 723.
 Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House, 1984) 660.
 Clarke, 77.
 This is the only time Jesus was recorded calling a woman, “daughter.”
 Anders, 88.
 Gaebelein, 662.
 First mention of Jesus speaking Aramaic in the Gospel of Mark.
 The woman healed from bleeding and discharge suffered for 12 years, and the little girl raised from the dead was 12 years old. Is there a connection?
 Robertson, 302.
 Gaebelein, 662.
 “A vivid description of the tumult is provided by L. Bauer, Volksleben im Lande der Bibel (Leipzig, 1903), pp. 211 ff. The woman form a circle around the leader of the dance of death, and dance rhythmically from left to right with their hair hanging down, Gradually they increase their mournful lament and the wild movements of hands and feet until their faces become flushed to a high degree and appear especially excited as the time of burial draws near.” William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1993) 196.
 Herchel H. Hobbs, An Exposition of the Four Gospels, Mark (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1978) 88.
Christ’s Power Over Every Need The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series “The Society for the Promotion of Madness Among the Respectable Classes” Mark 3:7-35
Christ’s Power Over Every Need
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series
The Society for the Promotion of Madness Among the Respectable Classes
Anyone who goes against the grain of acceptable society has a good chance of being considered mad. Jesus was said to be crazy, Paul was called mad, Francis of Assisi, William Carey – many people who were singularly focused on Christ and His mission will always be going counter to what the culture holds as acceptable. We as the church today are too respectable, too cautious, too normal – Jesus is considered mad, because he pushed against the accepted norm.
The Crowds Gather (vv. 7-12)
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
(v. 9) Mark doesn’t tell us if he uses the boat or not, but for the first time in the gospel we are getting the idea that there are so many people that it is dangerous; there is a concern of literally being crushed to death by people pushing in to touch Him.
The word for crush used here “means to press hard or to squeeze into a tight place. It was used of pressing grapes in order to extract the juice,” so he wanted a boat so that they could push off from the shore and get some distance.
(v. 10) “all who had diseases” – the word that’s used for diseases is same word for plagues, meaning a widespread disease such as influenza. Many thought that by just touching him, they would be healed, so they were pressing in, pushing to touch him.
(v. 12) uses the imperfect tense four times meaning that something keeps on happening. “The unclean spirits keep on beholding,” Jesus. They kept on falling down before” him. And they kept on crying out,” You are the Son of God,” and Jesus kept on rebuking them that they should be quiet.
Jesus Selects the Twelve Disciples (vv. 13-19)
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
This is the second time so far that have a sense of crisis in Jesus’s ministry. Luke (6:2) tells us that Jesus went up on the mountain to pray, and that this time of prayer went all night. Emerging from this time of prayer and from the group he had invited “up the mountain,” He then chose from them 12 – that he called “apostles.”
Apostle – a title denoting a commissioned messenger or ambassador. In Israelite history during the Diaspora, apostles were sent out to collect taxes. They usually traveled in pairs, these men sometimes preached or taught in synagogues, but their commission ended with their return to Jerusalem. The rabbinic term for such agents was shaliah.
In the OT, the term shaliah is used for four figures; Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel, in the sense of God’s agent by reason of power committed to them to perform miracles on God’s behalf. Jesus is going to send out the apostles as His agents (Son of God), with His authority to preach His message, and to exercise power by casting out demons (overthrowing Satan) and preaching the gospel.
Mark tells us that there were three purposes given for Jesus choosing the 12, “so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons”— They would not be ready to be sent out, until they had been with Jesus for some time and had been trained by Him, (1) to be with him (2) to preach and (3) to cast out demons.
There is an order given here; the disciples/apostles are to be with Jesus, before they go out to preach and cast out demons. They needed to know Jesus, to know the truth of the gospel before they can have any meaningful ministry on His behalf. Jesus says, “Come,” and then “Go.”
“This double ministry of preaching and healing was to mark their work.” Jesus is gathering the apostles and will eventually be sending them out on mission. We will also see below that Jesus’s enemies are gathering to bring Him and His ministry to an end. There are two forces with a strategy, intentionality, drive, etc.
Jesus will continue to preach and teach the multitudes, but now we see He begins to focus a lot of effort on this group of 12. Isaiah 60:22 says “The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation;” one trained and dedicated disciple becomes far mightier than a thousand casual hearers.
Attributing Good and Evil (vv. 20-27)
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
Jesus’s Family Attributes His Behavior (vv. 20-21)
The crowds lingered while Jesus and his select group were up on the mountain. They return to Jesus’s home and the crowd forms again. There are so many people in the house that they can’t rest, can’t sleep, they can’t even eat, and we don’t see Him preaching here (again perhaps because there are just so many people pressing in.)
Erasmus believes that the “so that they could not even eat” is a reference to the crowd – that there are so many people gathered, in such a short period of time, that food is running out for everyone. It could also mean, that so many people were in the house that they could not prepare a meal (in the kitchen).
Jesus’s family are concerned about his health – he’s not eating, not sleeping, staying up all night praying, he’s physically tired and exhausted. So, they are looking for Him to physically seize him (this word also means to arrest) to take care of Him. They are saying, “all this has gone too far, we are concerned about you and your health, you need to take a break from all this. You need to stop.”
It is possible to love someone and want to see that they are healthy, happy, safe – and be working against the plan that God has for them. Here Jesus’s family don’t understand what He is called to do, so they are inadvertently working against God’s plan. Remember they have traveled from Nazareth to Capernaum to seize him.
Jesus’ Enemies Attribute his Behavior (vv. 22)
(v. 22) begins with “And” – Jesus’ own family are hunting for him to seize him, to make him stop “and” now the scribes are back. They’ve been talking, and planning, and scheming, and now are seeking to discredit Jesus by making the claim that His power to heal is from Satan. Remember, Jesus had not just cast out one or two demons but many, and “they fell down before him and cried out.”
“It is possible that they were official emissaries from the Great Sanhedrin who came to examine Jesus’ miracles and to determine whether Capernaum should be declared a “seduced city,” the prey of an apostate preacher. Such a declaration required a thorough investigation made on the spot by official envoys in order to determine the extent of the defection and to distinguish between the instigators, the apostles, and the innocent.”
(v. 22) “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul” The intention of what Jesus is saying is not immediately obvious in English, but the name Beelzebul means “lord of the heavenly dwelling” or “lord of the heavenly house.”
Jesus is asserting that by casting out demons He had entered into the strong man’s house (Beelzebul, “lord of the flies” or the “lord of the heavenly house”) and had spoiled his goods! He was able to do this because He was stronger than the “strong man” and bound him. If Satan cannot cast our Satan, then one greater and stronger than Satan must be present! The only one greater than Satan is God himself!”
Jesus’s argument goes like this, “I have just cast out demons. Now if I am doing it by Satan’s power, then Satan is actually working against himself. But that would be absurd. Just as a house (v. 25) or a kingdom (v. 24) cannot stand if it is divided against itself or opposes itself, so Satan will bring about his own destruction by working against himself (v. 26). Furthermore, in order to enter the house of a strong man and plunder it, one must first tie up the strong man (v. 27).”
How can Satan be overcome by the use of Satan’s methods and power? How can we accomplish good ends by evil means? Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech “A House Divided” says, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Their accusations now brand Jesus’ work as unlawful, and he is consigned to the category of a magician. He will continually be charged with sorcery.
Jesus’s Warning to Those That Get It Wrong (vv. 28-30)
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
This is meant to be understood as a solemn statement, “I tell you the truth.” Forgiveness is available for all sins and blasphemies of men, except one, the “blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.” and Jesus goes on to say that it is an eternal sin – the unpardonable sin.
“Ascribing to Satan what is perhaps the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit, that of rescuing those who are in Satan’s power.” One who does this not only rejects moral values but reverses them. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit denotes the conscious and deliberate rejection of the saving power and grace of God released through Jesus’ word and actions. When Jesus released a person from the stronghold of Satan it was a revelation of the Kingdom of God and this revelation called for a decision.
The scribes were so set on rejecting Jesus and his message of forgiveness or sin, and their rejecting that the miracles prove that He was the Son of God – that they lost the ability to discern good from evil. There will be people who are so set on rejecting Jesus, in favor of their own sin, that they can no longer see sin for what it is. Hobbs says, that with the Holy Spirit moved out, “No conviction, no repentance; no repentance, no faith; no faith, no salvation. Thus the unpardonable sin.”
Family Tension (vv. 31-35)
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
There are many believers who have faced this tension in their lives. Jesus said, Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus calls us to be His disciple, and in that we distance ourselves from our biological family. This not a battle with hate, but with love. Missionaries who leave their families behind for the sake of sharing the gospel to a lost people group have to have this battle.
Love for biological family can put up walls, close highways, and stop the calling of a person. “A family should be a harbor from which the ship leaves to sail the sea, and not a dock where it ties up and rots.”
Life for me has almost come full circle. I left my home at 20 to pursue a calling into ministry (which is by far easier), and now the ships are leaving our harbor to sail upon life’s sea.
“And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him.” They are asking Jesus to stop his ministry, because they want what they feel is best for Him (safety, health, provision, stability, etc.) at the expense of the greater need for the salvation of others.
 George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 7 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1980) 691.
 Herschel Hobbs, An Exposition of the Four Gospels, Mark (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1970) 57.
 George Arthur Buttrick, Dictionary Editor, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volume A-D (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1980) 171.
 Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 1 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1930) 280.
 This is the first occurrence of the word parable in the book of Mark, a parable “is a unique literary device consisting of riddles, metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech, even at times allegory.
 Alexander Balman Bruce, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Grand Rapids Book Manufacturing, Inc. 1967) 360.
 Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing, 1984) 644.
 William L. Lane, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdsmans Publishing, 1974) 141.
 James McGowan, Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series, The Gospel of Mark (Chattanooga, Tennessee; AMG Publishers, 2006) 40.
 Gaebelein, 645.
 Lane, 145.
 Hobbs, 65.
Christ’s Power Over Every Need The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series “Remaining Focused On Your Calling In A World of Distractions” Mark 1:14-45
Christ’s Power Over Every Need
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series
Remaining Focused On Your Calling In A World of Distractions
“We say we turn to our phones when we’re “bored.” And we often find ourselves bored because we have become accustomed to a constant feed of connection, information, and entertainment. We are forever elsewhere. At class or at church or business meetings, we pay attention to what interests us and then when it doesn’t, we look to our devices to find something that does. There is now a word in the dictionary called “phubbing.” It means maintaining eye contact while texting.”
Today we are going to see that Jesus is having to fight really hard to stay focused on His purpose in ministry. There are distractions that are constantly trying to derail his ministry. As a disciple of Christ, you too have a ministry that you are constantly being tempted to abandon. Let’s see how Jesus stays focused.
Jesus Knows His Ministry (vv. 14-15)
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
We don’t know how much time has passed, but Jesus has emerged from his 40 days of being tempted in the wilderness. John’s arrest gives us a rough estimate of time, “after John was arrested.” “Mark placed the beginning of Jesus’ ministry after the imprisonment of John.” Jesus then goes into Galilee and is “proclaiming the gospel of God” – Here the “gospel means, for Mark, the message of Jesus himself.”
Having started his ministry, Mark wants us to understand clearly that this message is about God (Jesus is the Son of God), and it is from God (the gospel of God) – it is not a manmade, human thought up myth.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” – “The time” means the time foreseen by prophets, the time fixed in God’s foreknowledge; “The hour has struck.” The Jewish people had longed for God to reestablish his earthly kingdom, where they would be His chosen people amongst all the other nations. The coming king would overthrow all empires that threaten His people, and he would reign as king.
Jesus says, this reigning of God on the earth, “the kingdom of God” is here. He is taking back territory, He is building His kingdom now. So how do we make sure that we don’t miss this “kingdom of God that is at hand?” Jesus says, one must, “repent and believe in the gospel.”
They were to believe that what God had promised in the Old Testament books was now being brought forth, “The time is fulfilled.” Jesus is saying “A new order is at hand. Get a new mind that fits it.”
The good news (gospel) of God’s kingdom being brought back is here – but they didn’t understand that this kingdom would be men’s souls, and their territory He would be getting back would be people not pieces of land, but men’s hearts.
Jesus Must Pass On The Ministry (vv. 16-20)
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Jesus surrounds himself with a group or people who will be with him all the way through his ministry. They will be able to give an account of what he did, what he said, and how others reacted to him. Jesus wants the gospel to spread to “the uttermost.”
“Follow me”— is a technical term for discipleship. Jewish teachers called their disciples to follow them: one would not presume to follow without an invitation. “The call to come after someone implies discipleship because it is the disciple who breaks all other ties to follow his master as a servant.”
And the phrase, “fishers of men” was an Old Testament figure of speech (Jeremiah 16:16) – where God was sending fishermen and hunters to catch/restore Israel. In the Jeremiah and other Old Testament passages – God playing the role of fisherman is ominous in tone, one of judgement.
We find ourselves surrounded by the net, and we are hunted like prey by evil – Jesus’ disciples (like in Jeremiah 16) reverse the tables and become the fisherman, seeking to catch and release men from their sin. Jesus came preaching, and the calling to His disciples is that they are be apart of restoring people back to God (away from judgment); restoring people to wholeness.
Mark emphasizes that “they left their nets” and “they left their father Zebedee” – being called by Jesus to become His disciples involves leaving something behind (break ties). Why is it important to emphasize what they left behind? Why not just say, “and they followed Jesus?”
To follow Jesus you have to leave things behind – a sinful lifestyle, a way of thinking about God, family, your career path, what you think makes you safe, even how you think the world works – everything has to be laid down. We are going to see that the disciples constantly think they understand the world, only to have Jesus turn it upside down. The Message of the gospel has to spread – but it has to be the right version of the gospel, it has to be God’s version.
Jesus’ Presence Strikes Fear in the Heart (vv. 21-22)
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
With several disciples, Jesus now travels about twenty miles to Capernaum, enters the synagogue there and “was teaching.” But Jesus’ teaching was distinctively different than other teachers of His day. “he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes” – “The scribes were the official teachers or expounders of the Torah; as a member of a school, the scribe would teach what he learned from his master – viz., the scribal tradition.”
The people reactions to Jesus’ teachings was astonishment; but this also conveys fear and alarm. Jesus taught with authority, meaning that there is no room for theological discussion, theoretical discussion, you were left with the impression that this was the Word of God. “In the presence of Jesus men are disturbed, and this disturbance is the precise act of fishing which Jesus had called the four fisherman.”
Eventually, these disciples would be preaching on their own – and their preaching would also cause people to be amazed, astonished, and faced with the question of “what to do with Jesus?” Also, if we go back to (v. 15) “the kingdom of God” – as reclaiming the hearts of men, reigning in the hearts of men. Jesus is showing his disciples how to preach the truth of the gospel, and that when He is gone, will multiply to truth outward (a multiplication effect instead of one man).
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
“In his excited cry three elements appear – recognition, repulsion, and dread. The repulsion is first expressed, then the dread, and then the recognition of his character, which of course, the foundation of both.” The demons recognize what Jesus’ presence means, way before the people who are gathered around him understand.
Which do you think causes them more alarm, his teaching or the fact that he just cast out a demon? Look at their response, ““What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Jesus Heals Many (vv. 29-34)
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
“And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him” – Jesus doesn’t want the demons to tell others about him. He also doesn’t want those he healed to tell others about Him. Why? This is a thread that runs through Mark, what scholars call the “Messianic Secret.” Jesus wants to reveal that He is the Messiah, but He wants to do it in such a way that the people understand.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee (vv. 35-39)
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Mark mentions Jesus going to a “desolate place” three times in his gospel (1:35; 1:45; 6:31-33), and in each reference it is after he/or the disciples have encountered large crowds of people and miracles were done. Jesus deliberately withdraws from the people to return to an area which has the characteristic of the wilderness where he encountered Satan and sustained temptation.
Mark doesn’t tell us what happened when Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness but it seems to deal with the clamor of the crowds. He is turning from their praise, returning to a place which recalls his determination to fulfill the mission for which he has come into the world.
The disciples are looking around and seeing all the people, and want to continue to capitalize of Jesus’ growing popularity. “Everyone is looking for you.” Or “Why are you hiding when we have this opportunity for you to do more miracles! Look how popular you are!
In response to the crowds looking for Jesus, He says let’s go to the next town, “that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” Jesus does not want to become a miracle worker side show. He wants to preach the “good news of the gospel.” The disciples think it’s all about the popularity, the show, the numbers. Jesus does not want the people to misunderstand why He is there.
The crowds response were not appropriate because it did not involve repentance of sin, but attraction to Jesus as a performer of miracles (how Jesus made them feel). Jesus could heal thousands and thousands of people, yet if they don’t repent of their sin, and place their faith in Christ, you haven’t done anything with the eternal, what ultimately really matters.
“and there he prayed” – Jesus separating himself to pray occurs three times in Mark, here at the beginning of his ministry, “in the middle after the feeding of the five thousand (6:46), and at the conclusion in the Garden of Gethsemane (14:32-42)” – These are all three critical moments in His ministry.
Why is this a crisis point? Because there is the danger to fail in His mission before He even gets started. “The crisis is the shallow and superficial response of the people to Jesus.” The people of Capernaum had no interest in Jesus beyond the miracles or any interest in coming under the reign of God.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper (vv. 40-45)
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
The leper did not stand at a distance nor was he yelling “unclean” as the law stated and as we see in other healings of lepers in the NT. The “leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling,” – He is showing himself to be a person who acts in his own self-interest, not thinking about how his actions affects others. “Desperation may not be the most noble motive for seeking help, but Jesus does not scorn it.” Jesus shows compassion toward his illness, but anger toward his heart.
The tone of how Jesus responds to the leper seems to be one of anger. “Moved with pity” – some translations have “moved with anger,” also, when Mark says, “sent him away,” it is the same phrase for driving out demons. Jesus shows compassion by touching him, when no one else would touch him, but it is clear that Jesus is angry about something.
He tells the man “sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone” “Don’t tell anyone, be quiet.” So does the man stay quiet? (v. 45) “But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news”
“The command was not obeyed. Now the former leper could go anywhere, in and out of the cities freely. But the one who healed him could no longer openly enter a town without the immediate crush of the crowd.”
“The man had gotten his heart’s desire, but regarded not the heart’s desire of the Healer.”
“Exuberant Rebellion” – the man acted out of his feelings, not according to the mission of God. This man is doing what seems right to him, in direct rebellion of clear teaching of Scripture; he is doing what feels good, despite clear instructions from the Lord. Mark ends this section with this man’s example. “I am going to use Jesus to get what I want, while at the same time ignoring what He has to say.”
 Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Penguin Publishing Group.
 “Mark apparently wants to show that John, the forerunner, completed his God-appointed task; and only after that had occurred did Jesus enter his ministry.” Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Press, 1984) 624.
 James A. Brooks, The New American Commentary, Volume 23, Mark (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1991) 46.
 George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 7 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1951) 655.
 Buttrick, 657.
 Ibid, 656.
 William L. Lane, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993) 67.
 Buttrick, 660.
 Lane, 72.
 “It was commonly believed that if one knew the name of the demonic power, he might exorcise it.” Clifton Allen, General Editor, The Broadman Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1969) 275. Also see, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House, 1984) 627.
 W. N. Clarke, An American Commentary on the New Testament, Volume 2 Mark and Luke (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; Judson Press, 1950) 25.
 C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
 Lane, 81.
 Ibid, 82.
 Gaebelein. 629.
 Brooks, 53.
 Allen, Volume 8, 278
 Clarke, 31.