After the sun had set and evening had come, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those who had demons. All the people of the town gathered in front of the house. Jesus healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases and drove out many demons. He would not let the demons say anything, because they knew who he was.(verses 32-34)
Read Mark 1:29-45
There are two interesting things in this passage. The first is Jesus’ compassion. Wherever he went, people flocked to see him, and many brought sick friends to him. Many of them he healed.
The second is his insistence that the demons not reveal his identity, as Son of God, Messiah. He also told people not to tell others what he’d done for them. Miracles do not create saving faith. Only the Holy Spirit, working through God’s word, can do that. There was always the danger that people would seek to make Jesus a kind of travelling clinic. Trying to keep people quiet about his miracles proved to be impossible, however, and word got around.
There can be a problem when church people strive very hard to get ‘special’ gifts of the Spirit – like speaking in tongues and healing – as signs that they really are ‘Spirit-filled’. Such things, while undoubtedly evidence of the power of God working through people, can shift the focus from the Christian church’s main ministry: proclaiming the gospel. Compassion is an aid to this; miracles do not replace it. As Mark keeps emphasising, Jesus’ ministry (and ours) is primarily a matter of telling Good News.
Father, thank you for your great love to me. May my words and deeds – and whatever you choose to do through me – always point to Jesus. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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