The Healing Ministry of Christ Begins in Earnest (Mark Sermon 6)
February 13, 2022 | Andrew Davis
Miracles, Jesus Christ
Andy Davis preaches an expositional sermon on Mark 1:29-39. The sermon focuses on the nature of Jesus’ healing ministry and the importance of prayer and preaching in his ministry.
- Sermon Transcript -
Turn in your Bibles to Mark's Gospel, Chapter One. We're looking at verses 29 through 39 as we move through this incredible gospel message. We live in a world groaning in the pain and agony of physical disease. The worldwide ravages of disease are so devastating. The way that diseases destroy the body, the way that they change the pallor of the skin. They make people look gaunt or look like living skeletons. It's simply devastating to see. God hears the cry of the afflicted who cry out from their beds of pain and suffering begging God for relief. "How long, oh Lord, must I lie in this bed and suffer?" Some of you I know are dealing with chronic pain day after day with little or no relief. Others are in the middle of a serious battle with disease. You're undergoing heavy treatments and procedures and the hope of healing by the skills and insights of the medical community.
More than that, however, you are crying to God directly for help, for healing. My desire is that this sermon will feed your faith as you cry out to God. That your faith will be fed. But your suffering is just a fraction of the overall worldwide groaning of a world swimming in a sea of disease and pain and death. When Adam sinned, he led the entire human race into the death penalty that God had imposed. God had warned Adam, "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat of it, you will surely die." From the moment that Adam ate, he died spiritually, and he be began to die physically though it would not come for nine centuries. The Bible also teaches that in Adam, all of his descendants sinned and through Adam, all of us die as well.
Disease is one of the main executioners of the human race. The mortality of the human body was exposed as part of Adam's death penalty. So even down to the cellular level, our bodies are dying. God and his judgment on our human race allowed, or maybe fashioned, various diseases to torment and to kill people all over the world. Medical science constantly records the nature and the symptoms and the effects of a staggering number of different diseases. In the year 2016, a study published by the University of Michigan Medical School asserted that there are roughly 10,000 diseases afflicting human beings with only about 500 known cures and treatments. Among the top 10 diseases causing the most deaths worldwide are coronary artery disease, number one, responsible for almost nine million deaths. Stroke, which killed 6.2 million in the year studied. Lower respiratory infection such as flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, 3.2 million. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, 3.1 million. Respiratory cancers, 1.7 million, and diabetes, 1.6 million people a year.
Since COVID-19 ran amok worldwide, people have been daily aware of the devastating effect of diseases as never before. As the consciousness of the whole world has, in some degree, been held in its iron grip since the first quarter of the year 2020. And there's no ultimate remedy for all these diseases. Suffering, the death that can come from the brilliance of human intellects, from the laboratories of pharmaceutical companies, from the blinding insights of physicians and microbiologists and epidemiologists. Certainly individual diseases can and have been eradicated. Clear example of this is smallpox, the greatest single killer of human beings in history, half a billion people. But old diseases still hang over us all like the sword of Damocles, twisting, suspended by a thread ready to fall at any moment.
"For a brief moment in human history, a man appeared who had absolute, complete power over every disease and sickness known to man. And that man is Jesus Christ..."
But for a brief moment in human history, a man appeared who had absolute, complete power over every disease and sickness known to man. And that man is Jesus Christ, and we're studying Him today. We're studying the power of Jesus Christ, the great physician, who entered the world to give us life and give it to us abundantly. And for a brief, perhaps maybe a three-year span, Jesus effectively banished disease and sickness from Palestine. Huge crowds thronged around Jesus. And the New Testament tells us he healed them all. He healed them all. Matthew 4:24, "News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them." Matthew 9:35, "Jesus went through all the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." Mark 6:56, "And wherever he went-- into villages, towns or countryside-- they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed."
There had never been a healing ministry like Jesus's before Him, nor has there been anything to that same degree since. Though Jesus did entrust a measure of his healing power to his apostles, it was nowhere near the staggering scope and dimensions of his own healing ministry. The annals of church history do not record any such healing ministry since the end of the age of the apostles. Though, certainly individual healings have come in answer to prayer in every generation, and some prayer warriors may have seen many such healings in their time. Yet, no one moved around from place to place with throngs of people around them, healing every disease and sickness they encountered. There's no record of that in 20 centuries of church history. Jesus alone, Jesus alone.
And it was in direct fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. As Matthew records in Matthew 8:17, "This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah. He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." So today we're going to look at the beginning of the healing ministry of Jesus and draw out some lessons from it. These themes we're going to see repeated again and again in Mark's gospel, but today it begins. And it begins, I believe, in the home of Simon Peter, with one woman, Simon's mother-in-law. So it's the beginning of Jesus' healing ministry.
The Beginning of Jesus’ Healing Ministry (Mark 1:29-31)
Look again at verses 29 through 31. “As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them.”
Jesus’ First Miracle
Now, the Apostle John in his Gospel tells us that Jesus' first miracle was performed at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. Well, that means if that's true, literally true, that was his first miracle. It means that in all of his growing up years, his childhood, teen years on into the 20s, as he began his public ministry, supposedly around the age of 30, approximately age of 30, all that first 30 years, he never did a single miracle. His miracle work and career had to start somewhere, and it started at a wedding. And so John 2:11 says, "This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee." Changed a huge amount of water into wine. That's how it started. He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in Him. But the healings, it seemed, waited for this occasion, around this time. And they would make up the overwhelming bulk of his miracles. Overwhelming bulk of his signs or healings.
The Context: Leaving the Synagogue of Capernaum After Sabbath Worship
So what is the context? Well, he's leaving the synagogue of Capernaum after Sabbath worship. So they're moving out. They've had Sabbath worship. They're in the synagogue of Capernaum. We studied this last week. Jesus had been teaching in the synagogue with amazing authority. No one had ever heard anyone teach with that kind of authority. And they were astonished.
And then suddenly a man, demon possessed, stands up and cries out to Him. "What do you want with us? Jesus, Son of the Most High God, swear to God that you won't torture us." “And Jesus says, "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.” Saw this last week. And the people's reaction was overwhelmed. Verse 27, 28. "The people were so amazed that they asked each other, 'What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him.' And news about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee." So that's what happened. Saw it last week. Now, the Sabbath worship at the synagogue was over. Generally, we're told it ended around noon. And so they were going out and they went to Simon and Andrew's house.
Simon and Andrew’s House (Mark 1:29)
Look at verse 29. "As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew." So Simon, who we best know as Peter, lived with his brother, Andrew, and his family in a house there in Capernaum. So they were successful enough as a fisherman to own their own house. Archeologists believe that they have found a house that may well have been Peter's house. It was dated at that same time, whether it was Peter's or not gives a sense of what the house might have looked like.
One commentator described it this way, "The house has doors and windows that open to an interior courtyard rather than outward to the street. The courtyard accessed by a gateway from the street was the center of the lives of the dwellings around it, containing hearths, millstones for grain, hand presses, and stairways to the roofs of dwellings. The dwellings were constructed of heavy walls of black basalt over which a flat roof of wood and fat was placed." So that's what it might have looked like.
So, after the amazing events in the synagogue in Capernaum, Peter, Andrew, James, and John and others connected with the family would've been talking with great excitement as they made their way to Simon and Andrew's house. So presumably Simon and Andrew had invited Jesus to join them for a Sabbath noontime meal. But as they're going there, a cloud hangs over that family. A cloud hangs over it because Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever.
Simon’s Mother-in-Law and Her Fever (Mark 1:30)
Look at verse 30. "Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her." Now, if we could just stop and say, this is just significant, we have to note things along the way. It's not the main point of the text, but we find out in this way that Simon Peter was married. Friends, I don't know any other way to get a mother-in-law. I don't think that's possible. All right? The only way you get a mother-in-law is to have a wife. And so he was married.
Paul mentions in first Corinthians 9:5 that Peter took his wife along with him on some of his missionary journeys. So he had said, "Don't we have the right to take along a wife, as Peter does?" Peter being married is significant in church history because the Roman Catholic church identifies Peter as the first Pope and also mandates clerical celibacy for all of its clerics, all of its priests, no marriage. So there's something jarring there from the very beginning, who they consider to be the first Pope, clearly married. So that's just something to note.
At any rate, at that point, the deep concern was for her health. She was sick with a fever. Luke 4:38 tells us that she had a very high fever. She's burning up. This is a very serious medical condition. There was not much that rudimentary medical science at that point could do for her. So she was in trouble, and the scripture says that they told Jesus about her. That's such a picture of prayer for me. Just like I began in my pastoral prayer. Sir, we would like to see Jesus. There's just so many moments. They told Jesus about her. So just stop right there. Here's application. Tell Jesus about it. Just bring the sick people you know to the Lord in prayer. As the hymn says, what a friend we have in Jesus. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Just tell Jesus about it still.
The Healing (Mark 1:31)
So then we have the healing, verse 31, “He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” So Jesus lived the life of a servant. We'll see this again. Any need that's brought to Jesus, he just goes and deals with it. He hardly ever says no. There's really no actually clear example of Him ever refusing. So he just immediately goes. We also will see again and again, how often Jesus used physical touch in his healing. He loved to touch people to heal them. And more on that in a moment. Now, as soon as he touches this woman, the fever left her immediately, immediately healed. There's no need for convalescence, no need to recover her strength. No one brought her chicken soup with noodles. She's not resting at all. She's immediately ready to go. She felt strength and energy in her body and got up and served the guests that were there for the afternoon meal.
So what is fever? I had to look it up. I'm not a doctor, but I'm interested in fevers. What causes the body to raise its temperature? Medical science can explain these things. Fever is the body's response to a bacterial or viral infection. It mobilizes the body's immune system to kill the infectious agents, the bacteria or the virus. The body can handle the higher temperatures better than the infectious agents can. The hypothalamus, which sits at the base of the brain, regulates body temperature. It is triggered to raise the body temperature when the immune system identifies a pathogen, the cause of the infection in the body. So the immune system sends a signal to the hypothalamus by things called pyrogenes, related to the word for fire, something that creates a fire, heat, in the bloodstream. When the hypothalamus registers these pyrogenes, it raises the body's temperature, and you get a fever. So what did Jesus do when he took her by the hand? Well, there's no medical explanation for this other than a miracle. Whatever infectious agent was in this woman's body is instantly destroyed. It's gone.
Furthermore, the pyrogenes are instantly removed from the bloodstream. The hypothalamus instantly reset to normal. Fever abated instantly. Like the stilling of a storm, it quieted down immediately. Her forehead got cool. Her clothes would've been still wet from her fever sweat, just like the boat in the storm would've still been filled with water. There were still effects of it, but she was a 100% healthy. She felt strength in her body and stood up. So medical science is getting more and more brilliant down to the cellular level, like tailor made cures that study your particular genetic tendencies, and it's incredible the things that they're doing. Let me tell you something. When science travels the end of an amazingly complex road, they're going to find Jesus was already there. I mean, down to the cellular level, just done. We're going to see that with the leper as well. Whatever cellular destruction was happening through leprosy was cured. Clean. We'll get to that, God willing. At any rate, she's cured. She stands up to serve.
“When science travels the end of an amazingly complex road, they're going to find Jesus was already there.”
Well, this just opens the floodgate. A river of healing starts. Coupled with the demon-possessed man and news about Him had spread. And now this, so verse 32 to 34, “That evening after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. The whole town gathered at the door 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.” So the Sabbath began at sunset the day before Friday evening, and then would continue to sunset Saturday evening. The Jewish community was waiting breathlessly for the Sabbath to end, so that the healing could just really start, like a river of healings.
So they want to get to Peter's house. They're going to flood to Peter's house. As soon as the sun goes down, they want to bring Jesus all these sick people to heal. This began a river of miracles that would characterize his ministry for the rest of the time. So Jesus went out to the doorway, perhaps a gateway into which one could go into the central courtyard at Peter's house. And Jesus began addressing them one at a time, if we understand his usual pattern. They brought demon-possessed people, especially, showing that demon possession was of various types. And there's the demoniac of the gatherings who can't be restrained by chains. He's out of his mind. But then there are others that could be led even with a demonic affliction, led to a certain place to be cured. So it's all different levels. So Jesus drove out the demons. The powerful, forceful action, like a military blow in the spiritual dimension, like the rolling on of the kingdom of light and rolling back the kingdom of darkness. It can't be stopped. Demons have no power against Jesus.
Jesus also forbade the demons from speaking. As we saw last time and also in the book of James, the demons have accurate theological knowledge. They get it right theologically, but they hate God. The text openly says so. They knew who he was. They knew who Jesus was, but Jesus forbade them from saying anything about Him at all. He wanted his messengers, his ambassadors to be us. That's our role. It is committed to us, the ministry of reconciliation. Do you see what a privilege that is? That we get to speak these stories and tell lost people about Jesus. Demons do not have that right.
Elements of Jesus’ Healing Ministry
All right, so let's just stop and look at elements of Jesus' healing ministry. We're going to see it throughout the gospel and in all the gospels. So I'm going to give you seven words that describe Jesus' healing ministry.
First of all, successful. That's a good place to start, don't you think? Successful. Jesus never failed. Every case was addressed successfully. He never lost a patient.
Secondly, universal. There was no disease or sickness he could not heal. He was not a specialist, but he addressed every possible disease and sickness that was ever brought to him. Especially organic, deep, chronic conditions. These were easily healed by Jesus. Universal.
Thirdly, effortless, effortless. There was no struggle. There was nothing that Jesus found particularly difficult. I've thought of this before. If you asked Jesus at the end of a long day of healing, of all the cases you faced today, which was the hardest, what would he say? If he had a sense of humor, he'd laugh. None of them, none of them are hard. Effortless.
Fourth, instantaneous. We've already talked about that with the mother-in-law. She's instantaneously healed. There's no process. There's no convalescence period, no need to regain strength.
Fifth, personal, personal. Jesus often preferred to touch people. He tended to seek out a relationship with someone. Like the woman, with the issue of blood, all that. He wanted to talk to her. He wants a relationship with her. He's looking for a relationship. It's personal. He loved to heal people one-on-one, one at a time by touch. Loved to touch people. Seeking a relationship. There is no record of group healings. There is a record of group feeding, but there's no end of the day, there's 500 more people to heal, and he just heals them all and goes home. It doesn't go like that. It may have, but there's no overt record of it. Personal.
Six, free. I mean, financially. I'm not in any way disparaging people who make their money by medical things. A lot of my best friends are doctors and they do that. A lot of you. So it's like, ah, you're treading on some toes now. But Jesus did send out his disciples saying, "Freely you have received, freely give." They didn't charge anything either. So he did it financially for free. Now Americans spend on average $12,500 per person per year on medical things, on average. 4.1 trillion a year spent on health. This is nothing new. The woman with the bleeding problem, Mark 5:26, "She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors, and had spent all she had yet. Instead of getting better, she only grew worse." By the way, it doesn't surprise me that Luke, the doctor, didn't include that in his gospel. Moving on.
Seventh. Varied, Jesus used a lot of different approaches. He wasn't always the same. Take his healing of blind people. Sometimes he spit and made mud and put it on a man's eyes. He did that once. Another time, he spit directly on a man's eyes and touched him. Another time he just spoke. Just different approaches every time. So these are seven elements or characteristics of Jesus' healing ministry: successful, universal, effortless, instantaneous, personal, free and varied.
“…Seven elements or characteristics of Jesus' healing ministry: successful, universal, effortless, instantaneous, personal, free and varied.”
All right, well, what do the healings signify? They're called signs. What are they pointing to? What do they teach us? Well, first of all, most importantly for us personally, they signify spiritual healing. The real healing we need is not primarily physical. It is spiritual. We're going to talk about this as the time comes with the paralyzed man who's let down by his friends and Jesus does not heal him physically at first, but just says, "Your sins are forgiven." That's the priority structure.
And then Jesus will liken his physical healing ministry to the real spiritual healing ministry that's necessary. Luke 5:31-32. "Jesus answered them, 'It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'" The sickness is sin. The healing is repentance and the forgiveness of sins, and Jesus alone can do that, the atoning work.
Secondly, Jesus' healing ministry signified human weakness and inability, powerlessness. It says in Romans Chapter 5, “when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly”. We're powerless. Jesus' healing ministry pictures human powerlessness, inability. Can't see. Jesus heals, you can see. Can't walk. Jesus heals, you can walk. Can't hear. Jesus heals, now you can hear. Human inability. We can't fix ourselves. We need a savior. That's what it's teaching.
And then thirdly, it signifies a world to come in which there'll be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. Amen. Hallelujah. It's a sign of a world to come. The real healing is yet to come. It's called resurrection. And at the resurrection, we're going to get resurrection bodies that will never have disease or injury ever again and will not die. And I believe in a dynamic ongoing healthiness of the resurrection body. I don't see anything severed from God. Everything comes from the throne of God. The river of the water of life flows from the throne of God. And on each side of the river of the water of life is the tree of life. And it's got leaves and crops 12 months a year. And the leaves of the tree, it says, are for the healing of the nations.
You're like, "Well, I thought you already told this last chapter, there's no more death, mourning, crying, or pain." Yes, because of a river of health flowing from the throne of God. That's why. It's not independent health. It's not like God says, "All right, you're set. Off you go." No, in Him we will forever live and move and have our being. So those are the three significant aspects of Jesus' healing ministry.
None of his healings was a permanent solution to the problem of disease. None of them. All of the people he healed later died. All of them. Some of them, I would imagine, got sick or injured within days or weeks or months after that. We have no record of anyone coming back for healing, but why wouldn't they? I'm sure he did, but we just don't have anybody doing that. Death is the final enemy, the last enemy that's going to be with us to the end. It's not permanent.
What the Healings Proved About Jesus
All right, what do these healings prove about Jesus? First, they show his compassion. He's a compassionate God. He cares about our suffering. It's the number one emotional state ascribed to Jesus, is compassion. Secondly, they show his power. There's nothing he cannot do. This is the omnipotent Son of God. There's nothing he cannot do. And thirdly, ultimately, they show his identity as Son of God. What kind of person can do all this? Only God, that's what they teach.
Now, what is the link between healing and faith? How do we connect healing and faith? Frequently, Jesus linked them. "According to your faith, it will be done to you." So Bartimaeus, he says that to him. "According to your faith, it will be done to you." But not always. As a matter of fact, some of the people Jesus healed didn't believe at all. The guy in John 5 turned Him into the temple police. Jesus came later and said, "Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." he didn't look on him as converted. Just because he healed him didn't mean he converted him.
But these miracles, the whole accumulated evidence of Jesus, were a valid basis for the saving faith of people who were being saved. Jesus said so in John 14:11. He said, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father's in me, or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." Believe on the evidence of the miracles. It's a valid basis for our faith. John said openly in John 20:31, "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written, these miracle accounts are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and believing you may have life in his name." It's a totally valid thing to say, "I believe in Jesus, the Healer, I believe in Jesus the Wonder Worker, the Miracle Worker, I believe he's the Son of God." It's totally valid. That's why the scriptures were written.
Prayer Fueled Jesus’ Healing Ministry (Mark 1:35)
All right, let's move on now. And in the account, we see the undergirding power of Jesus' healing ministry was his prayer life. Look at verse 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." This is one of the great verses in the Bible on a daily quiet time. Just basic principles of a daily quiet time. A time with the Lord. All right? It's a striking glimpse into Jesus' private, spiritual life. Jesus absolutely relied on prayer. He wanted, he yearned for time with his Father. He loved to be with his Father, and that time guided Him and it gave Him power.
Jesus is our role model. Our prayer lives are generally weak. I've never met anyone that has expressed complete, perfect satisfaction with their prayer lives. Would you say that to me? "Pastor, I got to tell you, I am a 100% satisfied with my prayer life. It's exactly how it should be." I've never met anyone like that. We all know we have a way to grow, and Jesus is our role model. He definitely came to shed his blood on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins so that through faith and that blood, all of our sins may be forgiven. That was the center ministry he came to do, but he also came to be our role model, to give us a pattern of life we could follow. Jesus is our role model. As 1 Peter 2:21 says, "Christ left you an example. You should follow in his steps."
So look at the details. I'm like, "Pastor, I'd really rather not look at the details because it says very early in the morning while it was still dark. I mean, you don't mean me, do you?" Yes, I do mean you. Very early in the morning while it's still dark. Morning is the best time for a quiet time. It's not the only time. You can have a quiet time at the end of the day, but a long time ago I learned, I don't think it's in the Bible anywhere, but I read somewhere an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Now that's not in the Bible. That was Ben Franklin, I think. What does that mean? It's better that the bad thing not happen than that you can pick up the pieces after the bad thing. So I just took that and applied it to a morning quiet time. Would it be better to not have the bad day and pick it up at the end of the day and feel better about it?
I'd rather get my brain, my mind, my heart, my body, ready for the day at the beginning of the day, and then go off into the plan that God has for me. At least that was Jesus's pattern. So he got up very early in the morning, still dark. Before the world gets cranking, before the world can clamor for your attention. I might recommend you do something with this nasty little thing. Set it aside. Turn it off, put it on airplane mode. Put it in a box and latch the box, and just focus your mind. Don't let the world steal from you that time that you can have with the Lord. It's sacrifice. And the world can't clamor for your attention.
Mothers of little ones, the babies aren't sleeping yet. It's like, "But they got to bed really late last night, I need a few extra hours." It's fine. I'm not being legalistic. I'm just saying the kids aren't up and crying yet. You have a chance to meet with the Lord, a chance to pray. And it says he got up. He got up. I'll never forget my missions professor, Christie Wilson, told this story. And it was about a man that used to get up regularly at four of the morning for prayer time, for several hours of prayer. I'm not advocating or saying, but a young man came to him and said, "How do you do it?" he said, "I'm going to tell you my secret. Young man, I get up." There it is. That's the secret. Young man, I get up. Well, that's what the text says. He got up. So he just gets up. He got tired just like any of us. He got tired before. He was tired from his journey before he talked to the woman at the well. He fell asleep right before the stilling of the storm. Jesus got tired like any of us.
Imagine the day he just had that Sabbath day. Sun goes down, and he heals tons of people. The next day, he gets up very early, and it says he went off to a solitary place. He got away from people so he could focus. I think that it is wonderful and it is good to learn to pray without ceasing. That's what 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says. That's the continual prayer that you offer up. That's a good thing, but it's not the same thing as having a focused time of prayer in which you're free from all distractions. You're away from people if you can be, and you're able to focus on the Father and pray. There's a deeper level of intimacy. And God sometimes speaks to us like he did with Elijah on Mount Horeb, in a still, small voice. You just need to get away and focus and be able to have God speak to you. And he prayed.
And in this way, I believe that the Father communicated love to the Son. Remember at his baptism, the Father said, "You are my Son. You are my Son. With you, I am well pleased." I think the Father continued to say that kind of thing to the Son, to reassure Him of his love for Him. And Jesus said of his own ministry, his own life, John 8:29. "The One who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him." How did he know that? Well, he's God, truly, but also because God told Him, "What you have done today pleases me." Wouldn't you love a time like that with Almighty God? To have God tell you again, "I love you. You're my son, my daughter, your sins are forgiven. You're going to heaven when you die. I'm with you. And the things you're doing are pleasing to me." Just to hear that from Him. How sweet is that?
And then, also, Jesus, I believe, every day got his marching orders from the Father. He found out what the Father wanted Him to do. It says in Isaiah, "The Lord has given me awakened ear to listen like one being taught." Says that in Isaiah. And so he would listen, and you know how it says in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do what? Good works, which God prepared in advance, that we should walk in them. Don't you think he’d do that with Jesus too? Prepared some good works in advance that he should walk in them. And so Jesus just walked perfectly in the good works the Father had prepared in advance for Him.
This explains a great mystery to me. Jesus was a great man. How can you have those kinds of great responsibilities? To be a great man and be apparently infinitely interruptible? Didn't matter who interrupted Him. A woman, children, a group of people, Jesus immediately is available and yet incredibly effective in three years. Perfect ministry, atone for sin, dies and goes to heaven. Eternal. A perfect ministry, three years. How do you do both? Both efficient and effective? Interrupted and all that? Well, the way he did is everything had been worked out ahead of time. And the interruptions that happened were part of God's plan, and he never despised them. And the way he did it is, he knew that he didn't do anything apart from the Father. John 5:29, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He can only do what he sees his Father doing because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. I do nothing apart from what the Father told me to do."
Again, John 8:28, "I don't say anything. I do nothing my own, but I speak just what the Father has taught me." So the Father told Him what to speak. He says the same thing again in John 12:49-50. "I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life, so whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." Now, I don't in any way minimize a moment-by-moment sense of the presence of the Father between the Father and the Son and all that. But I think there's nothing wrong with saying, so what do you think Jesus prayed about? And what do you think happened early in the morning? he's getting ready for his day of ministry, getting ready for his teaching ministry, hearing from the Father what to say and do.
And then not only apart from the Father, Jesus did nothing, but apart from the Spirit, Jesus did nothing that he would be empowered by the Spirit for his day of ministry. Peter said in Acts 10:38 that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. And he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil because God was with Him." God was with Him through the Holy Spirit.
So this was an insight I had within the last year or two. It occurred to me, just as Jesus did nothing apart from the will of the Father, he also did nothing, no miracles or no teachings apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit perfectly work together at all times. And so Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, went into the desert for his temptation, Luke 4:1. And then Jesus returned out of the time of temptation, Luke 4:14, full of the Holy Spirit. He entered the desert and left the desert full of the Holy Spirit. He did everything by the power of the Spirit.
“Just as Jesus did nothing apart from the will of the Father, he also did nothing, no miracles or no teachings apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.”
So what about us, brothers and sisters? What about us? If a sinless Jesus needed a good quiet time every day with the Father, how much more do we? Are you daily meeting with the Lord for Bible intake and prayer? That's what I want to ask you.
The Priority of Preaching in Jesus’ Healing Ministry (Mark 1:36-39)
Next, the priority of preaching in Jesus' healing ministry. Look at verse 36 and 37. Simon and his companions went to look for Him. When they found Him, they exclaimed, "Everyone is looking for you." What's going on there? There's a hidden request. What are you doing here? Bunch of people waiting for you back in Capernaum, right? It's almost like they had a vision that Jesus was going to be the house chaplain, and he was going to stay in that one house and people would come for healing and he would just be there and do those awesome teaching things and just be here.
So Jesus didn't do that. He didn't come to be a localized chaplain. All right? And he didn't come to meet their physical needs and heal them day after day after day. He came to preach the Word. Look at verses 38-39. "Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. ' So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons." All of the healings were temporary, as I've said. The preaching was the key to everything. The preaching was the priority. Why is that? Because our souls need salvation, and salvation comes from hearing and believing the Word of God. Hearing and believing the Word of God.
And Jesus could not stay in just one locality. He had to travel around. So you remember Isaiah 49:6, the Father said to the Son, "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the Earth." So if it's too small a thing for him just to be Israel's Savior, how much more is it too small a thing for Him to stay in Capernaum at that one house and heal whoever came to the doorstep? No, no. He had a ministry to move out and preach the gospel.
Applications for Us from Jesus’ Healing Ministry
All right. Applications. Well, the first application I've already hit hard, and that is your daily quiet time. How is your prayer life? And if the Lord is speaking conviction to you, don't feel negative. It's not a matter of what you to do. It's a matter of what you get to do. I mean, if you had a chance to meet tomorrow morning with Almighty God in a time of prayer, in which he assures you of his love and then tells you what good works he has for you to do that day, how could you miss it? And so just begin some new patterns. Also look at the core elements of Jesus' ministry. His healings, his prayer, and his preaching. Understand all of it led to one thing and that is the salvation of souls. Especially the preaching of the Word.
And so I beg you, each of you that are hearing me today, be certain that your sins are forgiven through faith in Christ. That was the key to everything. That's the message that's being preached. That's why the Son of God became incarnate. That's why he died on the cross and shed his blood is so that sinners like you and me who are such mess-ups, who are so sick in our sin. Yes, we're physically sick, and we're physically injured. I get it. But we are spiritually sick, spiritually injured. Jesus came to save us. And that happens through repentance and faith in the gospel. Are you a Christian? Have you received the gospel? Have you received forgiveness of sins?
And then look what all of this is teaching, what the whole gospel is teaching. That Jesus is the son of God, his deity. I'm beginning to realize more and more, the more I meditate on this, I will not get to one millionth of a percent of understanding of what that means. Do you realize that Simon Peter said under the inspiration of the Father, the Father revealed, "You are the Christ, the Son of God." He said that. "You're the Christ, the Son of God." Do you know what he did a minute later? He took to Jesus aside and rebuked him. Can I just stop and just say something simple? Never rebuke the Son of God. Let's just keep it simple. He's never doing anything wrong. He doesn't need your input. He doesn't need your advice. All of that flows from unbelief. What did it tell me? Peter didn't really understand what Son of God meant.
And then the next thing, in the next chapter, he's up on the mount of transfiguration and thinks that Jesus needs a booth along with Moses and Elijah. Oh, the three of them, side by side. And a bright cloud has to appear and say, "This is my son whom I love. Do you know who I am? Do you know who I am? Do you know who Jesus is?" That's the thing. And we can have a phrase. I know he is the Son of God, but we don't have one millionth percent of understanding of that. So saturate your mind in these accounts. Expand your sense of the greatness of Christ and trust in Him.
Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for the things that we've learned today in the gospel of Mark. It's really amazing. There's so many things to learn. We thank you for Jesus' healing ministry, how powerful and universal and unique and effortless it was. But you know that the real healing that he needs to do in all of us is healing from sin. And so, Lord, work in us an ongoing deep work of repentance. Turn us away from wickedness and sin. Turn us to purity and holiness, that we might live a life worthy of the Lord and might bring glory to your name while we live in this world. In Jesus' name, amen.