The Bible says concerning Jesus near the start of His public ministry in Mark 1:28, “And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.” When the time was right, Jesus appeared to the nation of Israel. There is a time for everything. There is a time to be unknown, quietly working as a carpenter in the small village of Nazareth. And then there is a time to be revealed to the nation as the Messiah, the Savior, the One who was greater than all the prophets. When God wants something to happen, it happens. The fame of Jesus spread abroad throughout all the region round about; and it was done without advertising, without television, without money. Let those beware who use the means of man to spread their own name and the name of their own organizations. That’s the difference between the religion of man and true religion. The religion of man is built by the organizational efforts of man. True religion is built by God when He raises up whom He will.
Sudden fame has ruined many humans, but it did not ruin Jesus. Jesus knew what was in man. Jesus knew the fickle nature of the praise and adulation of the crowds. And Jesus simply stuck to His program, His path, and His calling no matter what people said or did. He kept heading towards the cross, reaching out and touching the lives of individuals along the way, and always preparing the disciples for the years of ministry that He would one day give to them.
Concerning the people that Jesus healed, the next one mentioned in Mark was Peter’s mother in law. Mark 1:29-31 says, “And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and immediately they tell Him about her. And He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” One of the things that we must not ignore about this passage is the fact that Simon, later called Peter, was married. Years later Paul would write about this fact, saying that he also could have been married should he so choose. Paul wrote in First Corinthians 9:5, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” Cephas was another name for Peter. No one should ever forbid marriage. Marriage is a good thing for anyone who decides to enter into its alliance and allegiance. “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.” Some individuals may choose not to marry, and for others God may give them celibacy as a gift; but no religious organization should ever forbid marriage for anyone.
Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus healed everyone with whom He came in contact. He did this because of His compassion. He did this to show that He truly was the divine Son of God. And He did it to demonstrate what He will one day do for everyone at His Second coming when He transforms all of nature. How wonderful it will be to become a part of His kingdom. There will be no sin, no sickness, no suffering, and no death there. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Notice what happened after Jesus healed Peter’s mother in law. It says, “she ministered unto them.” If the Lord has given you health, it is for a reason. The reason is always to serve. Even Jesus came to minister, instead of being ministered to. God calls us to minister, to serve. If you want to know what God wants you to do, find out whom God wishes you to serve; and then go serve them while you still have the strength and the health to do so.
The Bible says in Mark 1:32-34, “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” People with two different kinds of afflictions were brought to Jesus: those who had severe physical problems and those who had extreme spiritual problems being possessed with demons. The emphasis here is that man is both body and spirit, and to be everything that you ought to be, you need to be healed in body and spirit. Jesus can do both. By all means do everything that you can from a medical standpoint; but do not neglect to come to Jesus also.
The last phrase of Mark 1:34 is interesting. It says that Jesus “suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” Is it not a good thing for the name of Jesus to be announced and broadcast? That depends upon who does it and when they do it. The Lord does not want the demons to do it, and the same can be said of unbelievers. Lifting up the name of Jesus and publishing His name is a privilege that is given only to His believers.
This description of the life of Jesus during His public ministry shows clearly how hectic and stressful His life could have been had He not done what was necessary to keep things in perspective and to stay filled and led by the Spirit. Great multitudes were pressing upon Him into the night having tracked Him down even to His lodging in Capernaum. How did He handle such demands that were being made upon Him? Mark 1:35 says, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” He prayed. If Jesus was dependent upon prayer to meet His challenges, how much more are we? Some people think that because Jesus got up early to pray, that therefore there is something spiritual about the time in which one prays, and if only they get up really early in the morning to pray, they will thereby be more spiritual. But Jesus probably got up so early to pray, because there was no other time in His life when He could get alone to pray the way He needed to. It’s not any more spiritual to pray early in the morning than it is late in the morning or early in the afternoon. The important thing is not when you pray, but that you do pray. If the only time that you can possibly pray is early in the morning, then do the same thing that Jesus did and get up early to do it.
In spite of the efforts that Jesus made to be alone, Simon still tracked Him down. Mark 1:36-37 says, “And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.” Peter looked at things from the human standpoint. Humans usually think that more and bigger is better. But God knows what is better, and sometimes it’s God’s will for a preacher to speak to a smaller group than to a bigger group. The important thing is not how big is the group to which you speak, but is this the group God has chosen for you? A preacher of a smaller church may be considered the more faithful preacher in some instances than a preacher of a larger church.
When Jesus was told by Peter that all men in that local area were seeking for Him, Jesus said in Mark 1:38, “And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.” Jesus did not seek the adulation of the multitudes. He sought to help as many as He could. Jesus knew what the Father wanted Him to do, and Jesus was careful not to be side-tracked from it. Too bad that more of us do not understand the will of God the way that Jesus did. We would accomplish more, and there would be less of a chance of being side-tracked from the path that we are supposed to be on, or from doing the activities that we are supposed to be doing. Why did Jesus so clearly understand the will of the Father for those three years of His public ministry? For one thing, He had plenty of time to get prepared and to carefully think about just what He should be doing once He entered into public ministry. He spent thirty years as a carpenter and then three years in public service. If more of us had that kind of preparation, we also would do better once an opportunity came our way.
What did Jesus do when He went into these other towns? Mark 1:39 says, “And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” This verse says that Jesus did two things: He preached and He cast out devils. To preach means to publicly proclaim. When the truth of God’s Word is proclaimed, God is able to do His work to accomplish spiritual victories and spiritual changes in the lives of those who hear and are affected by it. If you see no effects to the preaching that you do, you may want to ask if you are preaching the truth of the Kingdom of God. Remember Jesus preached a “new” doctrine. Maybe you are preaching the old doctrine of the law. Unless someone grows in grace, they will not grow spiritually. This is the age of grace. If you are not preaching the message of grace, it is no wonder that you are not seeing the kinds of changes that were seen as a result of what Jesus preached.
The Bible says in Mark 1:40-42, “And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.” Just like most of the incidents of healing in the New Testament, this one is an excellent picture of salvation. A leper came to Jesus. Leprosy was a horrible, disfiguring disease. Leprosy did to a person physically what sin does to us spiritually. Sin will destroy you. It will disfigure you. Because of your sins, you have no hope spiritually speaking, unless you come to Jesus.
This leper came to Jesus and kneeled down to Him and said to Jesus, “If thou wilt, you can make me clean.” He humbled himself, and prayed to Jesus, and made a simple request. The salvation of the soul is just like that. If a person comes to the end of himself and comes to Jesus and asks to be made clean from sin, Jesus will always respond in the same way as He did with the leper. Jesus will always say, “I will, be thou cleansed.” Notice that the man did nothing for himself other than to go to Jesus and ask for cleansing. That’s how you get saved also. You go to Jesus and you ask Him for forgiveness and salvation. He cleanses you freely and completely from your sins. That’s grace. How blessed are those who have come to Jesus and asked for cleansing because to each of them Jesus has said, “I will; be thou clean.”
The man was thankful for being cleansed, but he did make a mistake in expressing his appreciation that we need to take note of. Mark 1:43-45 says, “And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.”
When we attempt to be a testimony for the Lord, it is extremely important that we go where He wants us to go. We are not our own. We are bought with a price. God knows better than we do. He has His reasons for where he sends us. We need to do things His way or else our efforts may truly be counter-productive. If you are not guided by the Lord, then you are guided by the will of man; and the will of man cannot accomplish the righteousness of God. Jesus performed a great miracle in healing this man of his leprosy, but it was not the will of God for the story of this miracle to be spread around in this region, probably because the crowds were already too big that were pressing upon Jesus as He attempted to do His work.
Jesus wanted this man to be a witness to the priests and not to the multitude. If we do not want our efforts to be in vain, we had better be careful to go God’s way. Sometimes the great crowds of people are not what God wants. He deals with us all one at a time anyway. Remember the importance of being led by His Spirit. This leper had just gotten saved and healed, and he had a lot of zeal to go out and do something for God. But zeal without knowledge will only commit its errors and excesses. We should pray and ask the Lord to cleanse us, but then we should pray to ask Him to make us humble enough and wise enough to go His way and to do things His way instead of our own way. The work of the self-willed human beings may very well attract its great crowds of people, but it will definitely not do the work of God. You can do the work of God, if you find out what Jesus wants you to do.
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved