Summary: In looking at the healing ministry of Jesus, it’s important to remember two things. First, Jesus’ healings were a tangible witness to the kingdom of God he was proclaiming. Second, the healings of Jesus show us the heart of God
Jesus, The Healer
Today, we’re continuing our series about Jesus, turning to the oldest existing book about Jesus written between 56 and 60 AD. Mark is writing to the Roman Christians just after the persecution of Christians had started. He wants his readers to understand who Jesus is really and what his life means for their lives. After Jesus was baptized he set out to begin preaching the good news, healing the sick and casting out demons. In looking at the healing ministry of Jesus, it’s important to remember two things. First, Jesus’ healings were a tangible witness to the kingdom of God he was proclaiming. So he opens the eyes of the blind, heals the ears of the deaf, enables the lame to walk, casts out evil spirits and even raises the dead all as a sign of what the kingdom of God when it is fully realized will be like. In this kingdom, there will be no more suffering or sorrow or sickness or pain. And so Jesus shows us tangible signs of the kingdom.
Second, the healings of Jesus show us the heart of God. Jesus can’t help himself when he sees the sick, the broken and the hurting who wanted healing. He is drawn to them and has to heal them. This became a problem for Jesus because when he healed someone they went and told everybody who would listen. As a result, there were large crowds gathered around Jesus, waiting for healing. This is why Jesus is constantly telling people after he heals them, “Don’t tell anybody.” Scholars call this the messianic secret and have theorized that if Jesus didn’t tell people that then he would never have been able to do anything else, especially proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. In Mark 1, Jesus has spent the day ministering to people. The sun is setting and the time is approaching for dinner and time with the disciples but he can’t do it. “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Because the crowds had so dominated his time and ministry, verse 35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Jesus could not go in public without the crowds pressing on him because he simply could not say no. This shows us the heart of God.
Then in verse 40 Jesus encounters a man with leprosy. Lepers could not live in town, or get within 6 feet of people and had to call out “unclean!” when someone was approaching them They had to wear a cloth over the bottom of their face and they forbidden to ever wash your face. If you’re caught in town, you are subject to 39 lashes. But this leper comes to Jesus and says, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” And then it says, Jesus, filled with compassion, reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” This is the heart of Jesus. It is what we see again and again throughout his ministry.