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MARK 1:29-29
Series:  The Good News of Jesus Christ - Part Four

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
January 28, 2018

We are studying through Mark’s Gospel account.  Mark’s presentation of the good news that is about Jesus Christ  The good news that is Jesus Christ.  Who Jesus is and what it means to believe in Him.


We are at Mark 1 - starting at verse 29.  If you are able, please stand and read with me our passage.  As we come before God and His word this morning. 


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.


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.”


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.


Last Sunday we moved into a section of Mark’s Gospel where Mark is focused on establishing Jesus’ cred.  His credibility.  What give Jesus authority to speak truth into our out lives.  Why we should trust Him.


So thinking about credibility.


Looking at these people - which one is more credible?


Show of hands - how many of you think Oprah is the most credible?  Wolf Blitzer?  Maria Shriver?  Katie Couric?  Glenn Beck?  El Rushbo?


Credibility is what inspires belief - confidence - trust.  What gives someone credibility?  What kind of track record?  What consistency of character and teaching? 


If we were living in first century Rome - which is Mark’s primary audience that he’s writing to - Gentiles in Rome.  Maybe we’ve heard about Jesus.  Maybe through contact with Paul or Peter or some other follower of Jesus we’ve heard what they believe about Jesus.  Which is all good for them.  But why should I trust Jesus myself?


Up until Mark no Gospel account had been written.  Mark’s account of Jesus is ground breaking.  An amazingly helpful resource and tool.  This section establishing Jesus’ credibility is hugely significant.


Significant even for us.  What Mark writes is an encouragement for us as we seek to press into Jesus - to go deeper in our relationship with Him - to strengthen our faith and as a resource for when we share our faith with others.


The passage we read breaks down into 3 sections based on what’s happening with Jesus and His followers.


The first section comes in verses 29 to 31 which is what happened After The Service.


And immediately He left the synagogue


Mark - understanding how Romans process things - similar to us and how fast our lives move - Mark is brief and to the point.  He’s just putting out the facts.  Mark uses the phrase “immediately” or “at once” 22 times. 


“Immediately” - meaning right after what we looked last Sunday.


Jesus had gone into the synagogue in Capernaum.  Capernaum which was  a fishing village on the north west shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Capernaum being a kind of home base for Jesus in His ministry.


On the Sabbath - Jesus goes to attend services at the synagogue.  And - Jesus who’d been gaining a reputation - the ruler of the synagogue invited Jesus to teach.  Which, when He taught, Jesus blew the crowd away because, when Jesus taught, He taught with authority - speaking as the authority of God’s word.  And Jesus put the fear of God into the congregation by demonstrating His authority over Satan and demons and the forces of darkness.  Jesus casting out a demon.


So much so that - Mark tells us - that Jesus went viral.  What Jesus said and what Jesus did got people talking.  What they were hearing and seeing was something no one had ever heard or seen before.


Immediately after the service Jesus and Simon - Peter - and Andrew and James and John go to Simon and Andrew’s house.


Which if were to go to Capernaum - up in the left is what archeologists believe was Peter and Andrew’s house.  Which is what it used to look like until the build at church over it.  Which you can see the outside of on the upper right.  The inside is what’s on the left.  Which kind of protects the house.


Today - in order to see the house they have a glass floor in the church to look through.  Which looking from underneath looks like what’s on the right.


“Immediately” meaning Peter and Andrew’s house is about a block from where the synagogue was.  In the upper picture you can see the ruins of the 2nd Century synagogue which was built over the ruins of the synagogue Jesus was in.  Which we looked at last Sunday.

Point being that Mark is recording real people in real places in real time.  Which is real credibility.


When they get to the house nothing is happening.  Nada. Which is unusual.  Culturally offensive.


Middle Eastern culture.  Show up and you’re family.  You’re warmly welcomed.  There’s food.  The goat - the lamb - has been BBQued.  There’s conversation - more food - coffee - more food - more coffee - more food - baklava.


Because it’s Sabbath.  It’s already prepared and ready to go.  The Mezza is on the table with the hummus and appetizers.  The same was true at Simon’s house.


But when they get to the house none of that is happening.  Show up at Paul’s after today’s service and the “Please wait to be seated” greeting and seating thing doesn’t happen.  We’re just standing there waiting around awkwardly without the seating part.  What’s up with that?


When Jesus gets there they start with the explanations.  Maybe some of that is an apology.  It’s shameful not to extend customary hospitality.  Some of it is just pure reality.  Verse 30:  “They told Him [Jesus] about her.”  “Jesus.  My mother-in-law is sick.”


Luke’s account says she was burning with fever.  Meaning that this could have been a serious illness.  Maybe she had a cold.  Maybe she had the flu.  Maybe they told Jesus with the hope that He would do something to help.  We don’t know. 

We do know that Jesus - in a wonderful act of compassion - when He heard about the sickness - goes to her - and notice Mark’s brevity in this - Jesus goes to her - takes her by the hand - raises her up - and the fever leaves her.


Mark’s emphasis - in his to the point brevity - Mark’s emphasis is not the fever - the seriousness of the illness.  It’s not like Jesus is curing some dreaded disease like leprosy - which He heals later on and Mark makes a point of telling us that He did.  The fever most probably would have passed.  In time she most probably would have recovered. 


Mark’s emphasis - in his to the point brevity - is Jesus’ choice of compassion for this woman as He responds to her suffering - and Jesus’ authority over disease.  That she immediately begins to serve them emphasizes the immediacy and completeness of the healing.


Let’s be clear.


Genuine - God did it - miracles are instantaneous - meaning God may work healing in stages like Jesus did with a blind man at Bethsaida.  But even that happened in a short period of time while Jesus was with the man.  God did it miracles don’t take days or weeks to accomplish while we’re taking our meds and waiting around for something down the road to happen.  Healing happens in the now. 


God did it miracles are instantaneous... and complete.  People born blind receive perfect sight.  They don’t need glasses.  People born disabled jump around on fully functioning legs  They don’t need crutches or prosthetics.  They don’t walk with a limp.  The deaf hear.  They don’t need hearing aids.


Genuine God did it miracles are instantaneous and complete and… undeniable.  There’s no room for a natural explanation.  There are amazing things that people today are learning about how God has designed His universe and our bodies.  Discoveries that result in amazing advances in what we’re able to accomplish and diseases that we’re able to heal.  Which - for those of us who remember when the wheel was invented and communication was by smoke signal - what happens today would have been thought of as miraculous.


But God did it miracles have no natural explanation and they never will.  They are an act of God operating in a reality that only God operates in.


And God did it miracles are over the top displays of God’s power that are intended to give - God given credibility - authentication - to God’s representative.


Peter’s mother-in-law is lifted up - restored to perfect health - immediately - and she began to serve them.  That’s Jesus’ compassion on display as Mark records Jesus’ divine authority over disease.


The Bible tells us about the authority of Jesus Christ.  He has all authority in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18)  Jesus has authority to execute judgment over mankind. (John 5:27)  He has authority over angels and spiritual powers (1 Peter 3:22) - over all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:10)  And so on.  All of which is hard to process on the day-to-day level of where we live.


We can appreciate the practicality of what Mark to-the-point emphasizes here.  All that Diving authority wrapped up in one act of compassion that touches us right where we live our lives.


Chronic illnesses - aches and pains of age - the uncertainty of possible terminal illness - mental anguish - depression.  Whatever the physical problem - whatever the struggle of going through each day - we need that compassion of Jesus in our lives - to touch us and to lift us up.


Sometimes that compassion is revealed in healing - as with Simon’s mother-in-law.  Sometimes it’s in Jesus’ presence as we go through things.


What we’re seeing here is the real people real place real time good news that Jesus proclaimed - back in 1:15 - the Kingdom of God is at hand.  Jesus - God - is here with us.  It’s a glimpse of what it will be like when God’s kingdom comes in its final form when Jesus returns.


Jesus will always be there with us.  No one has greater compassion.  No one has greater authority.  Whatever is going on He can handle it.  He can take care of us.  Credibility that compels us to trust Jesus. 


Verses 32 to 34 bring us to the next section:  After Sundown.


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.


One of the great joys of life is a long lingering meal.  Good friends - good food - and a good setting to enjoy all that together.  Yes?


How long that was for Jesus and those with Him we don’t know.  But we can imagine that they shared some pretty sweet time chilling together.  Then comes the voices outside the house and the knock on the door.  Crowds of needy people gathering to see Jesus.


“That evening at sundown” let’s us know that the Sabbath has ended.  The Jewish day being measured from sunset to sunset.


Meaning that the people of Capernaum kept the Sabbath regulations.  Healing might have been considered a work.  Helping someone to a place of healing - traveling or carrying a burden - was forbidden.


“That evening at sundown” is also Mark’s way of letting us know that it didn’t take long for the news about what happened in the synagogue to spread.


1:28  “At once - immediately - His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.”  Jesus going viral.  Result being that as soon as they could the town showed up at Simon’s.


Which gives us insight into what these people struggled with physically and even deeper what they struggled with spiritually.  The best their religious leaders could offer them was their interpretations and opinions about God’s law and more regulations that came with condemnation and ostracism for failure.  By contrast how greatly they longed for the hope that they saw in Jesus and His teaching.


Which we can track with.  Most of us haven’t come here today because we’re hoping for more religious ritual with some in your face condemnation.  We need God.  We need what Jesus offers to us.  We need healing and restoration and the life that He offers to us.  We’re here because we desire God’s renewing presence and power in our lives.  Yes?


“The whole city” is Mark’s hyperbolic way of saying a lot of people - meaning chaos and pandemonium at the door.  Capernaum - at the time - had a population of about 1,500 people.  Imagine if that many people showing up at your house tonight about 5:30 or so. 


That’s physical and spiritual need in real time.


Notice the distinction Mark makes - verse 32 - the distinction between those who are ill and those who are oppressed by demons.


Not every illness is a result of demon possession or demonic activity.  But, there are illnesses which are a consequence of demon possession or demonic activity.  Sometimes that makes it hard for us to distinguish between the two.


Not all mental illness is demon inspired.  Life is hard to process.  But without God given insight - in our limited by our flesh understanding of things - sometimes it’s hard to know.  But there is a difference.


And Mark is careful to make that distinction for us.  One requires healing.  The other requires exorcism - casting out.


And Jesus gets it.  Because He’s God.  He has understanding and authority over both.  Jesus heals those who needed to be healed and cast out the demons who needed to be cast out.


And notice that Jesus “healed many” and “cast out many.” 


Jesus didn’t need to do that.  Jesus could have just ignored the knock on the door.  He could have told the people to leave Him alone.  He could have done a few token healings and casting outs and then sent the crowd away.


But Jesus didn’t do that.  He helped as many people as there was time to help.  Compassion kept Him going probably long into the night.  Such is the compassion of our Lord towards the oppressed - towards the burdened - towards those who suffer.


Toward us.  With what we suffer with physically and emotionally and spiritually.  Towards what plagues us even at the core of who we are.  Where we struggle with forgiveness and anger and anxiety and pride and resentment and jealousy and on and on. 


And every time Jesus healed someone - every time He cast out a demon - every time He dealt with the needs of those who came - the more Jesus demonstrated His authority the more many people heard His good news.  The more  Jesus brought credibility to Himself and His message.  Why believe Him? 


Mark’s bottom line of all that comes in verse 34:  And He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him. 


The crowd with all its needs may not have understood Who Jesus is.  But the demons did.  They knew Him.  Not personally.  Not relationally.  Like they’re best buds.  But professionally - intellectually.  They knew His credentials.


“Would not permit” meaning that Jesus once again exercises authority over the demons and silences them.  He does not permit them to speak.


What would it be like to have your worst enemy spin your PR on social media or in the news?  How would the demons distort Jesus’ message or attract people to Jesus for the miracles - to be captivated by the spectacular - and with all the smoke and mirrors miss completely the good news of Who Jesus is and His message calling us to trust in Him.


What Mark is emphasizing here is what we see in other times and other places in Jesus’ ministry.  That Jesus doesn’t want those crowds to follow Him on those terms.  Jesus continually turns His back on trending publicly - popularity - being the next best and greatest.  Jesus silences the demons.  All that is a distraction.


Bottom line - what Mark is helping us to understand - is that the priority of Jesus is the message not the miracles.  God - Jesus - has compassion and so He heals and casts out.  But the miracles are there to give credibility to messenger and His message.  The good news that is the bottom line of what we need to trust Jesus for.


Verses 35 to 39 bring us to what takes place Early In The Morning the next day.  Let’s walk through this together.


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. 


Everything we’ve seen last Sunday and here in these verses are Jesus’ first day of ministry in Galilee.  Imagine having a first day on the job like Jesus had a first day on the job - preaching - healing - casting out demons - the last of those needing Him leaving way late in the night.  And that’s only day one. 


God never gets tired.  God never needs sleep.  But we ain’t God.  In Jesus’ humanity that must have been exhausting.


But rather than sleeping in - before anyone else in the house is up or even stirring - very early in the morning - while it’s still dark outside - Jesus choosing to rise up - heads out of town - to a desolate place - maybe farther up the hills a bit - maybe overlooking the Sea of Galilee - a desolate place - quiet - apart from the crowd - away from disturbances - to be alone in prayer.  In deliberate communion with His Father.


Meanwhile - back at the house - Peter and the others as they’re waking up discover that Jesus is missing.  And there’s a crowd already gathering.


Several years ago I stayed at the home of Nerses and Sevan Balabanian - who many of you know.  Their house was in a small Armenian town in the middle of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley - located on the grounds of the Armenian Evangelical Church and school.  Which meant that it was the de facto center of the community.


Which meant that really early in the morning ladies from the community would show up to help Sevan prepare food for the guests who were coming - who would begin showing up about breakfast - arrive in groups that were local and from all over the world - and stay until late at night. 


During the day all that moved outside to the only small green lawn area in the whole of the Bekaa Valley.  People sitting around on chairs in the shade drinking coffee and eating amazing Armenian desserts.  By evening it was gathered around the dinner table.  An endless procession of people who expected hospitality.


For whatever reason they came… they came.  And the next day was more of the same.  Day in and day out.  All week long. 

It’s not hard to imagine that happening here.  The crowd finally goes home late Saturday night.  And Sunday morning - first day of the week -  they’re baaack.  Worse - Jesus - the focal point of all this - Jesus is no where to be found.


Imagine what that would be like for you.  Peter’s mother-in-law may have wanted to crawl back in bed.  Just let me be sick again.


And wouldn’t you know it - Peter and the others - searching for Jesus - found Him.  Apparently the place wasn’t desolate enough.  Unless, of course, Jesus was ready to be found.


“Everyone is looking for you” comes across as if they thought Jesus was clueless.  Jesus certainly never would have even remotely considered the possibility that people might actually be looking for Him.  Like He was in demand or something.


There’s a contrast here that Mark is opening up to us.  Peter and others who are concerned with the whims of the crowd.  Peter and the other who seem clueless that Jesus doesn’t set the agenda of His life based on the whims of the crowd and what builds His popularity.  Jesus having more friends on Facebook than Mark Zuckerberg.


The disciples are probably expecting Jesus to say, “Oh My.  We need to hurry back to take care of all the needs of the people and take advantage of My popularity.”


Verse 38:  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.”

In contrast Jesus presents a totally different plan.


Mark’s summary of the next several months of Jesus’ ministry comes in verse 39:  And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.


Our needs are important to God.  The needs of the crowd are important to Jesus.  He is compassionate.  But that’s not why Jesus has come.  It would take time for the disciples to catch up in their understand of that.


Instead of returning to the house and His adoring fans - the paparazzi in Capernaum - the endless line of people needing healing - Jesus and His disciples head out to other parts of Galilee to preach the good news to others who needed to believe in Him.


It’s not the miracles it’s the message.  One gives visual credibility to the other.  The priority is the message.  Physical healing is temporal.  Spiritual healing - salvation - is forever. 


Processing all that…


What does all that say to us?  About what it means for us to trust Jesus?  About what we prioritize in our lives as we’re seeking to follow Him?


Two takeaways for us this morning.


First:  We need to be impressed with Jesus.


It would be easy for us to read through an account like this - which is probably pretty familiar - and we start thinking about how all that applies to us and what we should do next.  But Mark is focused on opening up Jesus to us.


Meaning we need to intentionally slow down and process what Mark is opening up to us about Jesus.  Who He is.  God in the flesh and blood of our humanity.  To admire and appreciate Him.  How He conducts Himself. 


We need to be impressed with Jesus’ compassion for people.  How He responds to those around Him.  Patiently - lovingly - graciously - with deep caring and concern. 


We need to be impressed with What He gives Himself to - His priorities.  His passion for following the will of the Father.


Regardless of the circumstances He’s moving through Jesus is in control of Himself.  As Jesus exercises His authority over disease and demons and Satan and the powers of darkness He is always on task - always giving Himself to what the Father has for Him to do. 


That consistent compassion and control should impress us Jesus demonstrates His credibility.  His authority.  Why we should believe Him - trust Him - follow Him. 


Which leads us into our Second take away:  We need to be imitators of Jesus.


Jesus communing with the Father.  Pressing into the Father. 


In the often overwhelming and exhausting circumstances of the chaos and pandemonium of our lives.  In what we’ve gone through - what we’re going through - what we anticipate going through - and how we stress about all that.  How crucial it is that we learn for ourselves from what Jesus did?


The significance for ourselves of getting alone in prayer and communion with God.  Solitude with God - purposefully and daily being in prayer.  Speaking openly with God about what’s on our hearts and quieting our hearts before Him.  The significance of purposefully and daily opening ourselves up to His word for what He might say to us.


We need solitude with God to stay yielded to Him.  It is amazing how easily our egos get stroked and how easily we get off His task and onto our tasks and our ambitions get the better of us - arranging and strategizing and organizing and justifying and defending ourselves so that there’s hardly any room for God to work... if at all. 


We need to press into God to stay trusting in Him to work in us and through us and to watch Him at work in us and through us to open doors that we would never have anticipated and to accomplish what we never could have even dreamed of accomplishing - all according to His will and for His glory.


When we do that - isn’t it true - that we find again and again that He is listening with compassion and love and grace?  We find that He is sovereign and working in the circumstances of what troubles our hearts.  That He gives us direction and wisdom and insight.  That He fills us with His peace.  That He reassures us and keeps us on task.


We need to imitate Jesus in His passion for obeying the Father. 


Which for most of us is not healing people and casting out demons.  It may be joining our Mexico Missions Team and serving in some remote town east of Ensenada.  Shameless plug.  Or serving here with Creekside - or showing compassion to someone in need - or any number of things that we do on a day-to-day basis - at work - at school - at home - that are mundane and seemingly insignificant. 


Whoever we are - whatever we have - wherever we may be - all of that is what we need to keep yielding to God for His use. 


It’s not the miracles - which could very easily be about what brings glory to us.  It’s the message.  Same on task priority as Jesus.


Years ago I read about a missionary to India - Mary Geegh.  What she wrote about prayer has stuck with me and hopefully this will encourage and challenge you as well.


Mary would take every situation and every circumstance to God in prayer - pour it out before God - and then wait and listen for His answer - however long that took.


Most of us would like to have a few nanoseconds for prayer.  Hours would be a dream.  But we can learn from her passion for communing with God.  Meaning Mary prayed - God answered - and whatever God said to do - she did.


One time there was an ongoing conflict between Mary and a colleague.  The conflict was getting real ugly and was affecting the ministry and a lot of other people.  The outgoing message of the good news just wasn’t happening.


One morning Mary was praying and God told her to take her colleague one fresh egg.  Which seemed silly - awkward.  But God said to do it.  So, with embarrassment and anxiety she took the one fresh egg to her colleague.  Her colleague received the egg with disbelief and great gratitude.


Come to find out, the colleague was a mother of ten children.  She’d used her last food to feed her family.  All of which was behind the attitude of this colleague that was fueling the conflict.  This fresh egg was her only food for the day.


God used one egg and the trust of His servant Mary to break down the barrier between them - to begin healing and restoring their relationship - to provide food for this mother - and to keep the message of the good news going forward. (1)


In the day-to-day of our lives - the priority is not our doing our best to follow after God - but our pressing into God - our reliance on Him to work within and through us - to give us what we need to obey Him and to keep us on task doing what it is that He’s created and called us to do.  As we yield our will to the will of our Father He uses for His eternal purposes - the good news is lived out and proclaimed.  To God alone be the glory.







1. Mary Geegh, God Guides, page 2


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®  (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.