Read thru New Testament – February 17, 2017

February 17

 

Mark 1:23-45

Mk. 1:23-28-In the synagogue was a man with an “unclean spirit” (a demon).  When the demon saw Jesus he began to call out through the man, “What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us?  I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”  The demon is well aware of Who Jesus is and that there was a conflict between the demonic world and Jesus.  The demon asks if Jesus has come to destroy “us”…meaning the rest of this demonic realm, as well.  Certainly the whole of the demonic realm had been placed on high alert of Jesus.  They are aware that He has ultimate power over them.

Notice that the teaching of Jesus was authenticated and validated...by the authority given to it when He performed miracles. There are several characteristics of the teaching of Jesus: 1.-It revealed truth; 2.-It called for change (repent, 1:15); 3.-It was accompanied by evidence (1:27); 4.-It was applicable to their condition; 5.-It was offered to all (2:13-17).

Mk. 1:29-34-Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law and many other people.

Mk. 1:35-36-Here we find the regular practice of Jesus to go away by Himself and pray (cf. Luke 5:16). The disciples came looking for Him because “Everyone is looking for You” (:37).  But Jesus knew that if He was going to meet their needs later, He must meet His own need first.  His need was for close communion with the Father.  He went to a “lonely” (means: secluded) place where He could be alone with the Father.

Mk. 1:37-39-As word of His healings get out…people begin to come to Him from all over (:28,37).   But Jesus is careful to remain focused on the purpose of His mission…”that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for” (:38).  The proclamation of the message of the Gospel, salvation, was the purpose of His mission, His priority.  The healings and miracles were meant to serve as authentication of the message…but were never meant to replace it or take priority over it.

Mk. 1:40-45-A leper approaches Jesus…somewhat timidly…”If You are willing…” Jesus’ response was one of “compassion”…the verb here is a passive participle meaning that the man’s condition profoundly affected Him.  Crowds are thronging about Him, pressing in, vying for attention.  And yet, the Lord never allowed the agenda or the drama to distract His love.  He saw this man’s condition and His heart was moved.  The word “touched” does not mean that Jesus stretched out one finger and carefully touched this wretched, leper…covered with oozing sores and infectious wounds.  The word actually means “to fasten, to adhere to”.  Jesus reached out to this man and took him firmly in His grasp.

 

Among the sixty-one defilements of ancient Jewish laws, leprosy was second only to a dead body in seriousness. A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including his own family. The disease was considered so revolting that the leper wasn’t permitted to come within 150 feet of anyone when the wind was blowing.

(for more information about leprosy see:

http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-leprosy.html)

 

When was the last time this man had felt the touch of another human’s hand? Jesus not only healed the man physically…but He also restored the man socially, cleansed the man religiously (:44), and cured the man emotionally.

It was still early in His ministry and Jesus did not want anything to happen that would jeopardize His work. So, He tells the man to go straight to the priest and fulfill the Law for the cleansing of lepers.  He also tells him to say nothing to anyone about how his healing had taken place…so as to not draw attention to Jesus.  But the leper could not restrain himself…”he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news about”.  The response was such that Jesus had to avoid going into cities because of the crowds He would draw.  Notice how the news about Jesus would begin to spread (1:28,37,45; 2:4,13; 3:8,20; 4:1; 5:21).

Prayer:  Lord, it is so easy to get caught up into the many demands that the ministry places on me.  Please help me to stay focused on what You would have me to do. And Lord, let me be like this leper…unable to keep from telling others what wonderful things You have done!

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