Mark’s Gospel is filled with stories of miraculous healing. Jesus seems to move quickly from city to city, and from broken person to broken person, compassionately healing and restoring!
Broken people are Jesus’ specialty. I know from experience. Messed-up people become the Messiah’s masterpieces. Beauty from ashes.
As I move through Mark’s narratives, I often find myself asking, “What happened next? What’s the rest of the story?” That’s what happened when I opened to Mark 1:21-28.
Jesus had just called the four Galilean fishermen to become His disciples. With His small band of followers, Jesus was in Capernaum at a synagogue. It was the Sabbath day, and the visiting Rabbi was invited to teach.
The congregation was “astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes” (Mark 1:22, CSB). Jesus didn’t recite the rules or wax on about an impersonal and unknown God. His message wasn’t ho-hum. It was powerful and compelling, leaving every listener wanting more.
Halfway through the sermon, a knuckle-head bolted up from his pew. It was like he was high on something. His eyes must have been crimson and his hair was probably askew. He looked homeless, and he must have smelled sour. The Bible just says he had an unclean spirit. He was messed-up.
According to Mark’s account, this is the first time Jesus performed a miraculous healing. Jesus chose this guy as His first. Interesting!
Apparently, the evil indweller was doing the talking. And it appears that he wasn’t alone. There was more than one demonic spirit. “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy One of God!”
(Mark 1:24, CSB).
The answer is yes! Have you come to destroy us? Yes, but that comes later.
In Capernaum’s synagogue, Jesus spoke the simple but authoritative words, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Mark 1:25, CSB).
Like a spoiled child, the evil spirit pitched a little fit. “The unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him” (Mark 1:26, CSB). Evil spirits obey Jesus.
We are told that Jesus’ popularity “spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee” (Mark 1:28, CSB), but we are not given a detailed account of the man’s next moves. Here’s what we know.
He had been held captive by evil spirits. Jesus set him free.
He had been filled with thoughts of darkness, destruction and death. Jesus forgave him.
He had been messed-up. Jesus took his shattered life, and with gentle words and a loving touch, Jesus restored and renewed.
Isn’t that your story? It’s mine!
A note from the Blogger:
I started writing this blog on April 1, 2020, shortly after the world shut down and we sheltered in place. Since then, I have written and posted a short blog daily, seven days each week. Though I wonder if life will ever be “normal” again, I do sense things beginning to move in that direction. My life as a pastor is getting busier. Thankfully.
I have enjoyed blogging. It’s been a gratifying spiritual exercise during this season. As the Lord leads, I plan to continue blogging, but beginning this week, I will post only Monday through Friday.
Thanks for your expressions of encouragement. I pray that you would fall more deeply in love with Jesus and His Word as you read each day’s offering.
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor