- Lesson 4 in the BaptistWay Press Connect 360 unit “The reMARKable Journey Begins” focuses on Mark 1:21-35.
When evening came, crowds showed up. It was the Sabbath day, so the people would have waited until sundown when the Sabbath was over. Verse 28 tells us news about what had happened in the synagogue that morning spread around the community. Word probably had gotten out about Peter’s mother-in-law. Now people in need came to see if Jesus could help them, too.
Mark distinguishes between the sick and those who were demon possessed. The word for sick means, “having something badly.” Perhaps demon possession connoted “something bad having you.” Regardless of the distinction, the people who came to Jesus were in need.
Mark indicated the “whole town gathered at the door.” Thus Jesus’ fame and popularity was spreading rapidly at the beginning of his ministry. The book of Mark is structured to build up his popularity through chapter 9, then his popularity diminishes after chapter 9 leading to the cross.
‘The Messianic Secret’
Jesus healed people who had all sorts of diseases. He also drove out demons. Mark adds something important about the demons. He wrote that Jesus would not let the demons speak because they knew who Jesus was. This begins a phenomenon in Mark called “the Messianic Secret.”
One of the major questions in the book of Mark is, “Who is this man Jesus?” Mark told his readers in the first verse of the gospel that Jesus is the Son of God. Even though his readers know from the beginning, the characters in the book come to the answer gradually. Jesus seemed reluctant to let the secret out until it is the right time.
First the demonic world knows who Jesus is. In Mark 3:10-12, evil spirits bow down before him and proclaim Jesus to be the Son of God, but Jesus told them not to tell who he is. There are several instances in which it seems Jesus was reluctant to let the secret out, particularly if the message would come from the demonic world. Jesus’ actions give hints to the characters in the story, but they do not understand.
In chapter 8, Peter finally declared Jesus as the Christ. In chapter 9, Jesus revealed himself more fully at the Transfiguration, but only to a few disciples. Jesus finally revealed himself to the Jewish court in chapter 14, and when he was hanging on the cross the Roman Centurion discerned Jesus’ true nature when he declared Jesus the Son of God as Jesus died. By slowly revealing the true identity of Jesus to the characters in the story, Mark makes the case that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
Thus ends this busy day in the life of Jesus. He has gone from one thing to another, always aware of the needs of people around him. He was busy at church, busy at home, and busy in the community. Jesus was God, but he was also human. His humanity must have been exhausted after a day like that.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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