Summary: Jesus’s first 100 days in the ministry was off to a smashing success. These healings brought so much publicity that people pursued him.

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After his baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus went north to Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” He made the village of Capernaum the headquarters for his Galilean ministry. Last Sunday we heard that he began his public ministry by teaching in the local synagogue and by casting an unclean spirit out of a sick man. If his goal was to reach the maximum number of people, he sure found the way to do it. Mark records that “his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.”

Today’s Gospel portrays Jesus as a very busy man. “And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left, and she served them.”

Now people know a good thing when they see one. “That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.”

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and

went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Jesus’s first 100 days in the ministry was off to a smashing success. These healings brought so much publicity that people pursued him. The next day, when he had disappeared by going to a lonely place for prayer, Simon found him and said, “Everyone is searching for you.” One might conclude that Jesus was surely on his way to a successful ministry. Everyone wanted to see him or touch him or get their picture taken with him. Surely Jesus wanted people to be whole, but his primary purpose was not the specular performing of miracles. His purpose in his ministry was reaching out to people through the preaching and teaching of the Kingdom of God that was coming in his very own person. The miracles, which affirmed the authority of his message, were secondary.

Jesus wanted them to hear his message, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.” God’s time to rescue, redeem and save his people had come in Jesus the Messiah. The realm of God’s activity was breaking through in him with consequences both for the present and the future. People were to repent, that is, to turn around from the direction they were heading, and to believe the good news that God was acting in Jesus to bring his people back to him, to heal them on the inside with the forgiveness of sins and the inflowing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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