Mark 1:29-39 - The Ministry of Jesus (03): Kingdom Mission
Directly after leaving the synagogue, they went into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30 But Simon’s mother-n-law was in bed sick with a fever. At once they spoke with Him about her. 31 So He went to her bed, taking her by the hand and raised her up. Then the fever left her and she started serving them. 32 When evening came after sunset, the towns folk brought many to Him who were sick and demonized. 33 The entire town came crowding to the door. 34 So He healed many sick with various diseases and cast out many demons; but He would not permit the demons to speak because they knew His identity. 35 Then in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose, left the house, and went to a solitary place to spend time in prayer. 36 Simon and others searched for Him. 37 They found Him and said, “Everyone is seeking You.” 38 He answered, “Let us go to the nearby towns that I may proclaim the message to them also, since that is what I came to do.” 39 So He went through all the synagogues in the region of Galillee proclaiming good news and casting out demons (G. Strawbridge trans.).
Kingdom Activity: A Co-laborer (1:29-31) - In this pericope, we see continued kingdom action after the events of the synagogue, beginning in the house of Peter. “Mark has shown Jesus expelling demons as a sign of the kingdom of God, now he shows him healing the sick” (NBC, 952). This “fever” (puresso; pur is “fire”) is described by Dr. Luke as a “high fever” (mega puresso) in terms like an exorcism (Lk. 4:38ff). Jesus “raised her up” (egeiro = a resurrection term) by the hand (interesting eyewitness detail). This may be a foreshadowing of resurrections to come. Notably, “she started serving them” as in cleansing (feet/hands), bread, water and wine (1:31). Thus, restoration and healing produced kingdom service.
Kingdom Activity: A Crowd (1:32-34) - This activity begins on a Sabbath (leaving synagogue), beginning with darkness in the synagogue and ending with darkness being brought to Jesus. “Some authors have viewed the day as the first of a ‘new creation’ . . .” or “this day foreshadows the final section of the gospel, another Sabbath (16:1)” (Sacra, 83). So after the Sabbath sun went down people began to bring Him many sick and demonized, an over whelming task (“the whole city” 1:33), “a steady stream (imperfect tense, epheron)” (Robertson, 878). Luke explains they “tried to keep him from leaving” (Luke 4:42, UBC, 30). This explains Jesus’ need for prayerful solitude.
Kingdom Activity: A Comission (1:35-39) - In the third section of this pericope we learn that Jesus needs communion with His Father through the Spirit to empower His work. He “arose, left the house, and went to the wilderness to spend time in prayer” (1:35). “He was glorifying God, and doing good, in his public work, yet he found time to be alone with his Father” (Matthew Henry). The language suggests that Peter and companions were upset by His sudden disappearance given the pressing needs. So Jesus’ responds to correct them: “Let us go elsewhere to the nearby towns in order that I may proclaim the message to them also since that is what I came to do” (1:38). So they departed for broader Galilee.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more