From: Su Min
Subject: More Miracles
Today we read of more miracles performed by Jesus, after the healing of Peter's mother-in-law from fever. The primary text is Matt 8:16-17. A parallel passage is found in Mark 1: 32-34, and again in Luke 4:40-41.
The passages in Mark & Luke are significant as they are set within a "frame" of Jesus at the synagogue (Mark 1:29, Mark 1:39, Luke 4:38, Luke 4:44). Jesus sermonises in the synagogues, saving souls, and heals in the houses, making their bodies whole. The frame compares and contrasts to the central picture, highlighting the main picture and adding to its beauty.
When evening had come, when the sun was setting, (waiting till the Sabbath day had expired) they brought to Him all who were sick with various diseases and who were demon possessed (Matt 8:16, Mark 1:32, Luke 4:30), and he laid his hands on them and healed them, he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick with various diseases (Matt 8:16, Mark 1:34: Luke 4:40). Doctor Jesus, the Great Physician has a wide range of patients to attend to, from those with various physical illnesses to people who were demon possessed. He reaches out to touch them with his hands. He speaks to them, and commands the evil spirits to leave.
His healing ministry was a fulfilment of the old testament prophesy. "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah 53:4 saying 'He Himself took our infirmity and bore our sickness'.
The demons came out screaming "You are the Christ the son of God" (Luke 4:41).Jesus forbade the demons to speak (Mark 1:34, Luke 4:41) because he did not need testimony of his deity from agents of the devil. Jesus needed no publicity and advertisement of his healing ministry. He had a primary mission of keeping an appointment on the cross, to pay the price of our sin with his life and to conquer death with his godliness. Yes, he had compassion. He would heal the sick and perform other miracles to confirm he had power over the prince of darkness. But his main message was "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand". He calls the people to turn back to God, confess their sins and gain eternal life by accepting Him as Lord.
Even today, I believe the situation is no different. Jesus can and does still occasionally perform miracles: sometimes spontaneously, sometimes in response to intercession by his disciples. Not to obliterate all physical illness from all his believers, but in certain cases, a miracle is allowed to take place, to further the cause of the heavenly kingdom. When a miracle is to be performed, and when it is to be withheld is decided by God in his perfect timing and planning. Sometimes we can understand. At others we can not. But we can always trust that God knows best. And even today, Jesus calls us to repent, to confess our sins and to him to save our souls.
This healing ministry event occurred in the evening. It probably took a long time, late into the night. It must have took a heavy toll on Jesus. Healing and spiritual warfare is never easy. Mark and Luke record how Jesus responds to this drain on his soul by getting up very early to pray the very next morning, having risen up a long while before daylight, departing to a deserted solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35, Luke 4:42). This is a very significant teaching for us, showing us how much Jesus and God valued the time of communion in prayer in a solitary place in the small hours of the morning. Are you weary? Have you great spiritual battles to fight? Are you exhausted by the teaching or healing assignments you have to carry out? Jesus teaches us by setting the example. When you face a significant task, when your spiritual batteries are low, when you are short of physical energy: retire to a solitary place and spend time on your knees in prayer: God will minister to you and refresh you.
Alas, Jesus was not left in solitude for too long. Simon Peter and the whole crowd that was with Jesus began to search for Jesus (Mark 1:36). When they found him, they tried to prevent him from leaving that town (Luke 4:42). Jesus replied, "Let us go into the next town and other cities also, that I may preach the Kingdom of God there, because for this purpose I have been sent" (Mark 1:38, Luke 4:43)". Jesus reaffirms the central purpose of his mission: to preach the Kingdom of God, the need for personal and corporate national repentance.
And he was preaching in the synagogues throughout Galilee, casting out demons. (Mark 1:39, Luke 4:44). The reference to synagogues closes the frame to which the setting of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law was outlined.
Hear ends the reading of God's Holy Word. Thanks be to God!
Let us pray.
Abba, Father, thank you for the lesson today.
Thank you for this teaching of the healing ministry of Jesus, how he focused on teaching the message of repentance to the backdrop of his healing miracles that established his supremacy over the evil one.
Thank you for the example of prayer in solitary places to commune with you, to draw strength from you.
Help us find to commune with you in prayer, Father, and in so doing help us experience the sweet joy of spending time with you.
This we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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