The Kingdom is at Hand

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Mark 1:29-45

Healing People

Mark 1:29-34

Parallel Texts: Matt. 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41

Galilee Touring

Mark 1:35-39

Parallel Texts: Matt. 4:23-25; Luke 4:42-44

Growing Crowds

Mark 1:40-45

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 soon, 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 ever comes, as the action moves into the second chapter tomorrow morning…

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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5 Responses to The Kingdom is at Hand

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    I will be curious to see your bonus post on demons.

    Is there truly such a thing as demon possession, or is what the Bible calls demon possession just what the people of that era called mental illness?

    What is my own belief? The Bible is God inspired, and the Bible says the demons knew Jesus. So we cannot honestly say that the Bible does not teach that those demons were not real. Yet there are those who find it difficult to believe in fallen angels. Myself included. I have seen mental illness. It looked a lot like demon possession. And it certainly frightening enough to see someone you know so tormented.

    • Don Merritt says:

      That is a really tough on, isn’t it? It seems clear from Scripture that Jesus dealt with demon possessed people. Is it possible that in those days people sometimes interpreted mental illness as demon possession? Yes. Is it possible that today we sometimes confuse demon possession as mental illness? Who can say for certain? Is there demon possession after the apostolic era? I don’t know that for sure either. All I can be completely certain of is that the Word of God is true.

  2. Matt Brumage says:

    “It is as though this Jesus can undo the consequences of sin.”

    I’ve really never thought of that, nor pursued that line of thought because of the “Man Born Blind” in John 9. The disciples thought he was born blind because of sin, either his (hard to imagine) or his parents. Jesus said no. But I wonder if that necessarily means that it couldn’t happen that way? Maybe it just wasn’t this particular guy.

    Interesting to think that Jesus was displaying a “type” of redemption through healing and exorcism as a precursor to His saving death and resurrection to come. I like it! Thanks for the insight!

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