Parallel Texts: Matt. 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41
Parallel Texts: Matt. 4:23-25; Luke 4:42-44
Parallel Texts: Matt. 8:2-4; Luke 5:12-16
If Jesus were to make a tour like this today, a promoter might call it ‘The Kingdom Tour”. Certainly His early ministry in Galilee was tumultuous, with ever-growing crowds of admirers, lines of the sick and lame, the demon possessed… and of course His critics.
More than anything else, Mark , with his brief glimpses of one incident after another, paints for us, a picture of the Kingdom Tour as it advances from one Galilean town to the next. With this somewhat disjointed picture, we start to see a pattern of sorts, images connected together by a theme. We know that the theme is “The Kingdom is at Hand” and the trends are that Jesus preaches the Kingdom, heals the sick and lame, drives out demons and crowds grow larger. They grow so large that Jesus can no longer enter the towns, but instead meets the people in the nearby countryside.
This Kingdom Jesus is preaching brings with it God’s righteousness, a new energetic life, forgiveness of sin and healing. There is something different going on here, nothing like this has swept through Galilee before; this has an other-worldliness about it. It is hard for any of us to reflect upon this period and see the Kingdom as a mere metaphor, or a simple abstract idea, no this is different. Think about the healing that is going on; not only is sickness being swept away in Jesus’ path, but so is infirmity and even death itself. It is as though this Jesus can undo the consequences of sin.
Yet, this isn’t the only healing that is being done right out in the open. Jesus is driving demons out of people! These unclean spirits that have taken over human lives are being given orders to cease and desist… and they know exactly who they are dealing with; Jesus is acting to prevent them from telling the people who He is; why? Where did these demons come from? Were they always there? I’ll post a Bonus Post about demon possession on Saturday afternoon, but for now let’s just say that we can add spiritual cleansing to Kingdom activities in this amazing picture of the “Kingdom Tour.”
However you slice it, Jesus was making a splash, and He is attracting attention as the news of His tour reaches Jerusalem, where the authorities will want to find out just what is going on up there in Galilee, from whence nothing good everr comes, as the action moves into the second chapter later today…