We’ve reached a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. After five back-to-back conflicts with the Pharisees, Jesus withdraws to the sea of Galilee, most likely because of the Pharisees’ plot to kill Him. If His disciples hoped for a quiet oceanside retreat to rest, they would be disappointed.
The Crowds, The Sick, And The Demons
North, South, East, And West
Jesus’ fame had grown too large for Him to find solitude. Verses 7 and 8 tell us a large crowd followed Him from “Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon.” If we look at a map, we’ll see that the crowds came from every direction, including the territory of the Gentiles. Mark includes this detail to help us understand that Jesus’ message and kingdom includes all people, not just the Jews.
The crowds have grown so large that they threaten to become a mob. Mark notes that the disciples had a small boat ready for Jesus so that the crowd wouldn’t “crush Him” (v. 9). While Jesus focuses on preaching, the crowd seems mostly interested in the physical miracles He can perform. They are much more interested in the healing of their immediate circumstances than in the message Jesus has come to preach.
Healing The Sick
In verse 10 we read that within the crowd, those with all kinds of diseases pressed toward Him, trying to touch Him to receive healing. Picture yourself in the sandals of Jesus and the disciples. The crowd has grown into a borderline mob. The sick (and likely contagious) threaten to overwhelm you. The ill and injured desperately want to get to Jesus after hearing story after story of His miraculous healing powers. Yet Jesus refuses to send them away. He graciously continues to heal them.
Fighting The Dark
While Jesus faces off with the Pharisees on one front and heals all manner of disease and injury on another, He is also fighting an invisible battle against the powers of darkness. Mark intentionally weaves this thread through his story. Jesus came to bring the good news and to heal the sick, but He also fought against Satan and his demons all through His earthly life.
In verse 11, we read, “whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’” Jesus silences the demons for a few possible reasons. One, He wants to control His mission and when His identity is revealed. And two, demons are not the appropriate heralds for the Messiah. Don’t miss Mark’s irony that the demons know who Jesus is while the religious leaders, who know the Scriptures, fail to recognize Him.
In what ways might we be tempted to seek Jesus’ healing in an immediate situation rather than spiritual healing? Do we value Jesus’ ability to heal over the good news He proclaimed?
I think we seek immediate help and results when we are fearful and desperate. For years I try to remember that We Walk by Faith not by Sight, I try to ingrain this into my head and my heart. I definitely believe many times we are focused on what we can see and feel versus being quiet and waiting, these are the times we need to pivot and re access like in the question before. It is those times of desperation that I need to dig deep into my soul and remember He is God and I am not.
I know that I don’t like to wait. I want things right now. I especially want my family and friends healed from cancer or whatever is ailing them; however, more importantly, I also want them, as well as myself, to be healed spiritually. How much greater for us to be healed spiritually than physically.
The multitudes were crowing in seeking Christ for what He could do for them! Human nature, we all want our bodies healed if ill; I know I do! But even if our body were to be healed that alone does NOT mean we KNOW the HEALER! Jesus made Himself available and did heal all who ask or sought after Him. There is a deeper healing all of us needs that Jesus cares about which is the healing of our hearts. I noticed Jesus was distressed at the "Hardness of the Heart" of the Pharisees. They knew the scriptures but did not know the giver of the scriptures! The greatest healing comes from knowing Him; not knowing "about" Him.
When a loved one or ourselves is suffering with a disease, high stress/anxiety to ask it to go away instead of asking for Him to calm us and we will follow His plan. It is hard to hand the worry over and trust in His plan. I think sometimes we can be more focused on the miracles and forget why He came to earth.
Hmm, these questions are quite the conundrum for me. As I process this, Jesus’ healing and spiritual healing are hand in hand, but I think what you’re getting at is the immediate healing instead of the space where healing hasn’t happened yet and we dwell in the place of waiting for it to happen. What a hard space it is for me when God asks me to wait. I get impatient in the asking and the waiting; sometimes I feel like Good thing is what I’m more focused on instead of the Good God who gives the Good thing. I don’t think God ever "holds out" on us, although I won’t lie it can feel like that sometimes, but that God wants give His good gifts in the timing He deems appropriate. As I grow deeper in my relationship with Him it gets easier to maintain my faith in hard waiting periods and I think it’s both because I’ve seen Him move mountains in my life before and because I know I’m loved and taken care of so I needn’t worry 🙂
We often just want God to take all our problems away. But God wants to teach us through our pain. I pray that I don’t waist the pain. I ask the Lord to show me what He
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