Lenten Reflection - Mark 1:29-45 by John Bindel
Event Time: Feb 17 at 12:00 am
“29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. 32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 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. 35 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him,37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “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.” 45 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 1:29-45
After the spread of his fame throughout the region it seems like Jesus wants some time to spend alone in prayer, but no matter where he goes, people need healing. His disciples' mother was ill, so of course he heals her, and then the whole town brings forth its sick and possessed. I'm sure everyone was amazed and happy, but then Jesus slips away for his own time to pray. When his disciples finally find him after some searching, his response is gracious enough: Let's go to the next town and proclaim more of my message of healing and good news, for that is my *purpose.*
As his fame spreads, and after he cures the leper who would not keep his silence about the healing, it seems that Jesus is to be overcome by the crowds who want his healing. I'm sure he knew the secret wouldn't stay secret, but we see that even when everyone wants him, his example is one not of self-aggrandizement but instead continued service and a focus on the message he has to share about God's healing love. Rather than going into the towns to be the center of attention and spectacle, he keeps to the deserted placed, and he continues to heal those who come to him.
I find it comforting that as followers, we can put ourselves in the middle of things when we should be there, and we can also draw back when we need to, so long as we remain open to help and to love those who seek for us.