Living in our image-driven, social-media-saturated, fake-news-generating world, it can be easy for us to imagine the world we read about in Scripture as a simpler time. And it’s understandable. Jesus never had to worry about things like Pinterest-perfect holiday décor. He never had to make decisions like choosing between staying home this year or visiting the in-laws for Christmas. And He never had to worry about things like how He’d ever manage to find the perfect gift on an almost-nonexistent budget. His world, we tell ourselves, was slower paced, more predictable. Our world seems so distant, so removed, so very different from the world of Scripture, we forget Jesus’ world was anything but simple.
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.
an upside-down world
When Mark wrote his gospel, he recorded a picture of a world in chaos, a world turned upside down. In his world, wild beasts roamed free in the wilderness, evil made itself at home even in the holy places, and sickness ran rampant (Mark 1:13, 23-24, 32-33). This was Jesus’ world.
We worship Jesus as God, and rightly so, but sometimes we can focus so much on His divinity that we forget all about his humanity. Jesus is God, and He is also a man. He experienced everything we experience: hunger, temptation, anger, compassion (Mark 11:12, 1:13, 3:5, 1:41). Jesus may have never dealt with the specific challenges of what we know in modern life, but just like us, He dealt with the realities of life in a world that’s not as it should be.
Maybe we live far from wild beasts and wildernesses, and maybe, if we’re honest, we don’t really know what to make of evil spirits and demons. But a world where sickness runs rampant? We know that world. We know the world where bodies break under the weight of chronic illness, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. And we know the world where depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, and emotional and psychological trauma leave us or those we love fractured and disconnected.
a right-side up mission
Precisely because Jesus lived in a world more like ours than we can imagine, Mark tells us Jesus “healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” Jesus knew what it meant to live in a world turned upside down by disease—physically, psychologically, emotionally. But because of His compassion and grace, He set about a mission to turn this upside-down world right-side up again, bringing peace where disease had brought despair.
We may not know the ins and outs of what life was like in Jesus’ day—the details of our lives are certainly different—but regardless of the century, be it the first or the twenty-first, Jesus remains the same. Just as He took compassion on a world in desperate need of healing more than two thousand years ago, He takes compassion on our world today. That’s the Jesus we can count on. That’s the Jesus we can trust.
What in your life needs to be healed? Spend time in prayer asking the lord for healing in these areas.
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