No Crowd Too Small, No Problem Too Little
There is no thing too small to bring to the feet of Jesus.
This is the second of a three-part series. Read the previous post here.
Last week, we began to look at Jesus’ early Galilean ministry as a lens for answering our key question: What is Jesus’ mission?
What began as a session of authoritative teaching quickly turned dark. A man filled with unclean spirits interrupted the lecture, but Jesus cast the demons from him. It was a scene of cosmic warfare; a spiritual battle between the forces of Satan and the long-awaited Messiah.
So importantly, at least part of Jesus’ message of the coming kingdom of God means pushing back the forces of evil. In today’s passage, we see Jesus doing something parallel but also different.
And immediately he 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.
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. (Mark 1:29-34)
After a public miracle of exorcism in front of many, the story transitions to a more intimate setting. But it is no less incredible. Jesus, invited into a private home, cares for Simon’s sick mother-in-law.
Strong is the temptation to paint characters of the Bible as backwards ignoramuses. Arrogance on the part of many today ignorantly dismisses the miracles of Scripture as fairy tales or misunderstanding on behalf of witnesses.
But note here that the author, and the characters he depicts, clearly know the difference between a disease and a demon. One is a force of supernatural agency; the other a natural condition familiar to all.
This is significant because the Jesus in Mark’s gospel is equally concerned with both. Jesus is both the conquering king, fighting back the armies of Satan and the compassionate physician, tending to the effects on image-bearers living in a fallen world.
Thus we see another element of Jesus’ mission. The “whole of creation” is terribly broken, Paul says, “groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” Upon Jesus’ entrance onto the scene, however, we see the firstfruits of redemption. Bodies are healed; diseases are cured; the dead are brought back to life.
There is no thing too small to bring to the feet of Jesus. His work is not reserved to fighting demons of mythic proportions. He empathizes with the sick, the weak, the poor, and the needy. He is equally content working in front of great crowds as he is at small gatherings.
What a joy it is to have a Savior like Jesus.
Robert Hasler is a Ministry Associate and Director of Communications for Ministry to State and cohost of The Will & Rob Show.