Jesus Heals Many
Today’s scripture presents Jesus’ healing ministry as being a way that He revealed His identity. Mark also uses Jesus’ miracles to teach us about Christian faith and discipleship.
By healing and casting out demons Jesus set Himself apart from other teachers. “A new teaching with authority!” exclaimed a crowd in Mark 1:27-28 after Jesus healed a man with an unclean spirit. Matthew 8:17 and Luke 4:18-19 go a step further and point to His fulfilling of Old Testament prophecies in the context of His healing ministry. While this makes sense in hindsight, Matthew 16:17 makes it clear that Jesus’ true identity (prior to His resurrection) comes only as a revelation from God, not through human deduction.
Important themes of servant-hood, meekness, faith, and discipleship emerge from the recipients of Jesus’ healing. After Simon’s (Peter’s) mother-in-law is healed, she waits on Jesus and the others. The leper falls on his knees and “implores” Jesus to heal him. His profound faith in Jesus is clear as he (1) disobeys the law by approaching Jesus and (2) acknowledges that he is only to be healed if it’s God’s will, not out of his own selfish desires. But faith does not end with coming to Jesus and falling on our knees; the leper and others who were healed spread the news of Jesus’ ministry, drawing more people into faith and Jesus’ teachings.
Stepping Out in Lent – Let us strive to have the kind of faith in God that the leper had; the kind of faith that not only draws us nearer to God but also emboldens us into action. Let that action take the form of compassion, such as Jesus had for the leper, to support the suffering in our community. And pray that our words and acts of compassion draw others into faith, further reconciling the world to God.
Author – Donal Harrigan and his wife Sarah will be married six years this June. They are relatively new members to St. Peter’s as of 2016. They can be found most often at the 5 pm service.