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02 December 2019

Jesus has Authority over Disease


Healed by his touch
Jesus did not allow social conventions or scruples about purity regulations to prevent him from healing the sick and delivering the oppressed from demonic spirits. Work restrictions on the Sabbath and rules about ceremonial purity were never intended to prevent or delay service to God's needy children.
The more personal nature of this story may stem from Peter recounting the incident in later years to Mark, a possible confirmation of the tradition that he composed his gospel based on Peter’s accounts.
Jesus did not simply heal Peter’s mother-in-law, he “was grasping her hand.” The Greek verb is a strong one and means to “grasp, seize; to take hold of.” In that culture to touch an unrelated woman was socially offensive, and to touch someone ill was to risk one’s ritual purity. In addition to physical healing, Jesus was bridging social and religious boundaries.
Jesus was not a revolutionary, but he did not allow social conventions to prevent him from restoring members of God’s covenant people to wholeness.
(Mark 1:29-39) - “And straightway out of the synagogue, going forth, he went unto the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now the mother-in-law of Simon was lying in a fever, and straightway they speak to him concerning her; and, coming near, he raised her up, grasping her hand,—and the fever left her, and she began ministering unto them. And, evening arriving, when the sun went in, they were bearing unto him all who were sick, and them who were demonized; and all the city was gathered unto the door; and he cured many that were sick with divers diseases, and, many demons, he cast out, and suffered not the demons to be talking,—because they knew him to be Christ. And very early by night arising he went out and departed into a desert place, and there was praying; and Simon, and they who were with him, went in quest of him, and found him, and say unto him—All are seeking thee. And he saith unto them—Let us be going elsewhere, into the neighbouring country-towns, in order that there also I may be making proclamation,—for to this end came I forth; And he came making proclamation into their synagogues, throughout the whole of Galilee,—and was casting the demons out” [Citation from the Emphasized Bible]. (Parallel passages: Matthew 8:14-16, Luke 4:38-44)
To save a life was more important than maintaining ritual status, something even the rabbis allowed. But there is something different in Christ’s attitude about matters of ritual purity and, soon, his priorities would set him in opposition to Jews more scrupulous about ritual practices than him.
After her healing, Simon’s mother-in-law served Jesus and his companions. This is not intended to teach female subservience. The same Greek verb for “serve” was used when angels “ministered” to Jesus in the Wilderness after his Temptation. The same verb also occurs in Mark 10:45 where Jesus stated, the Son of Man who came not to be served but to serve.” The woman’s actions demonstrated how immediate her healing was, and service to others follows a disciple’s restoration to wholeness.
The events in the larger passage all occurred in the synagogue at Capernaum and on the same Sabbath day (Mark 1:21-38). Jews would gather after sunset since, according to their custom, the Sabbath ended at sunset. Though men and women were eager to approach Jesus with their physical needs, they continued to conform to Sabbath customs and waited until after sunset to seek healing.
Mark distinguishes between healings of illnesses and exorcisms of demons (“he healed many having various diseases and cast out many demons”); he does not attribute all afflictions to demons, though in a few cases he does.
Jesus commanded the demons to silence because they knew who he was (Mark 1:34). This does not mean that Jesus desired to keep his identity or mission hidden, but he did not wish demons to broadcast information about him. Demonic forces could twist concepts of who and what Jesus was to confuse and misrepresent the nature of his mission.
The Greek verb for “searched for” more accurately means “pursued” or “tracked down” (Mark 1:36. Compare Luke 4:42). The text suggests that self-serving motives were in the attempts of others to keep Jesus in Capernaum; regardless, he was intent on proclaiming the Gospel throughout Galilee.
Jesus afterward went out to a “lonely place in order to pray.” Elsewhere, Jesus prays at night, in solitary places, and at pivotal points in His ministry (Mark 6:46, 14:32-39).

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