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Mark’s first-century biography – page 4

And immediately he (Jesus, c. AD 30, Capernaum, Galilee) left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 

Wonderful things had happened that Sabbath day in the Capernaum synagogue – a place for teaching the Jewish ancient Scriptures. Jesus had taught as the author of them. And “spirits” within an outwardly respectable man had disclosed that Jesus was the holy one of God and obeyed him. 

Then the five men go to the home of two of them in that seaside town. They tell him about the mother-in-law of one of them. She is lying down “burning” (the underlying Greek word is “pyresso”). Jesus (1) goes to her, (2) takes her hand, and (3) raises her. She serves them. A complete putting out of fire within followed by willing work for others. Maybe her fire of desire was replaced by its opposite - a servant heart. 
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 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.

That very evening. Things move quickly in a small village. As soon as the sun had gone down and the Sabbath ended, the possibility of great blessing – for others – means that the village brings all its sick, as well as those who are socially or mentally challenged, to Jesus. Can he help? Well, he did. And with these “demons”.

‘When you feel my heat, look into my eyes/ It's where my demons hide, it's where my demons hide/ Don't get too close, it's dark inside/ It's where my demons hide.’ (Song released 2012 by Imagine Dragons)
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. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”

It seems that the wonderful blessings which he was able to give that night made it very difficult indeed for Jesus. Popularity beyond a politician’s dreams were his. In the darkness he prayed – and then decided.

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.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. 

This turning point was also a triumph over temptation, over testing. He would devote himself to “preaching”. Mark twice used the Greek verb “kerysso” which had the sense of announcing or heralding something good. Interestingly, it seems that when this man devoted himself to preaching, many “demons” were cast out. The man and his teaching were highly effective.

And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 

Outwardly unlovely, unlovable really, this man with severe skin disease was convinced that Jesus could (had the ability to) cleanse him. “You can make me clean.” But he was not at all sure that Jesus wanted to. “If you will.” Despite his nil-net-worth, he came – and found out the will of Jesus. He was made clean.

‘The priest shall offer the sin offering, to make atonement for him who is to be cleansed from his uncleanness. … Thus, the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.’ (Instruction to Moses regarding a former leprous person. Leviticus 14)
And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 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.”

According to the law given to Moses for Israel around 1350 BC, a healed leper had to make offerings to the LORD regarding the cleansing of his sins. In giving this instruction, Jesus seemed to be making clear that the man needed most of all to seek and obtain cleansing from sin within….

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.

Sinner Syvret

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