A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere. Mark 1:40-45
The Gospel of Mark is no-nonsense. Mark gets right to his point. There is passion in his urgency for people to see the Good News! By quickly showing off Jesus’ actions and words, Mark shows us the Good News rather than explaining it with all its technicalities.
In chapter one, we see the Christ who was prophesied long ago, appear. We find Jesus being baptized by John, being tempted by Satan, and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. We see him rallying disciples and immediately showing them what he can do. Notice all of Jesus’ actions that follow.
1. Gives orders to an impure spirit
2. Frees a women from a fever
3. Cares for the sick and demon-possessed
4. Heals various diseases
5. Drives out demons
6. Cleanses a man with leprosy
That’s a lot in just one chapter. Mark makes it obvious this man’s actions are proving his authority and power. Mark also directly quotes Jesus several times. Notice what word Jesus repeats throughout the entire chapter.
1. The time has come. (V.15)
2. The kingdom of God has come near. (V.15)
3. Come, follow me. (V.17)
4. Come out of him. (v. 25)
5. This is why I have come. (v. 38)
Mark uses repeating words and phrases in his book to exclaim his point. The word “come” is used as declarative but also invitational. The Kingdom of God is now made real to us, which draws us into its new way. It’s such Good News that no one can keep it a secret. Even though Jesus asked people to keep his gift of healing and authority over demonic power a secret, everyone is too eager to spread the incredible news.
Because Jesus’ Kingdom is made real, we are invited to participate – to do what Jesus did. To push back the darkness, to claim more territory for the Kingdom of Heaven, and to invite others to join this Kingdom. In what way might you walk in the Kingdom of Heaven today, just as Jesus did at the beginning of his ministry?
By Yvonne Biel