Wednesday, January 11th. Mark 1:29-34

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.  That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured 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


Entering the gospel of Mark is like riding a roller coaster…except for the part where it starts out really slowly with lots of anticipation.  Mark has no room for that.  Mark is all about the urgency of the good news of Jesus.  There is a certain breathlessness to Mark’s story that I find compelling.


Jesus teaches and immediately heals.  His teaching and his healing belong together. 


For much of my life I was taught to reduce everything about Jesus to a little phrase – “Jesus forgives our sins.”  I was taught (don’t ask me how, I don’t remember anyone sitting me down and drilling this into my head) that salvation could fundamentally be boiled down to the forgiveness of my sins based on my belief in Jesus so that my name could be added to the Book of Life and I could go to heaven when I died and everyone that didn’t believe in Jesus therefore was consigned to spend eternity in hell which would be awful but I’d be in heaven which would be great so God would work out a way that I could forget about everyone else in hell so that nothing could get in the way of me enjoying eternity in heaven.  On streets made of gold.


It was a compelling story for me as a teenager.  Basically self-centered, I wanted good stuff for myself and I worried about ending up with bad stuff.  If accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior could keep me out of the fires of hell then I accepted Jesus at every available opportunity.  So I did.  Every time I could.  But it never seemed to take.  It never made much of a difference.  I may have been rescued from an eternity in hell but my most pressing problems were the hellish aspects of life between now and then.  My new deal with Jesus wasn’t touching those.


Eventually I came to learn – and I am still learning and re-learning this – that the root word for “salvation” isn’t “forgiveness” but it is “healing”.  And these two terms aren’t as different as you might think if you think in terms of relationships.


Just as the teaching and healing sides of Jesus’ ministry belong together, so it is that forgiveness heals our broken relationship with God and, once internalized, makes us very uncomfortable in settling for brokenness in the other relationships of our lives.  This insight, this connection, makes all the difference in the world.


Now it makes sense that Jesus begins his ministry in Mark both by teaching and healing, AND that such healing inevitably is accompanied by a restoration of relationships, a return to community.  Our broken world is desperately hungry for such healing.  Thus Peter’s mother-in-law moves from the bed to the kitchen to make lunch…and every suffering person within earshot of this story brings their loved ones to Jesus’ feet.  Wouldn’t you?


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, broken people seek healing.  Our deepest pains are rooted in broken relationships.  We believe you are both Source of Life and source of the power to heal.  Give us a deep sense of urgency to be about this work in everything we say and do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


3 Responses to “Wednesday, January 11th. Mark 1:29-34”

  1. Dawne Says:

    I love words. The other day I was struck by the relationship between “Authory” and “authority”. Today I am struck by your definition of salvation as healing, and I thought of the soothing, healing power of salve (a similar word). Your devotions always give me food for thought, and this week I’ve enjoyed the actual words that make me look at things in a new way.

    On another note, my pastor says that Mark is the fastest book of the Bible. Everything is done “immediately”. It leaves one rather breathless how quickly things move along.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Long time reader not often communicator here. I share your daily devotions with my wife and daughters each day. We all appreciate the comments and daily leading…

    God bless you!

  3. Ronald S Says:

    Thank you for the leadership and daily readings. God bless your ministry and the helpful commentary. I share each day’s writings with my wife and family. It has changed lives for good and continues to minister to our hearts beyond the brief session of devotion and time in the word.

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