Mark 1.29–34: The healing Christ (29 January 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Read

Read

1But Rachel had not borne Jacob any children, and so she became jealous of her sister and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I will die.”

2Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “I can't take the place of God. He is the one who keeps you from having children.”

3She said, “Here is my slave Bilhah; sleep with her, so that she can have a child for me. In this way I can become a mother through her.” 4So she gave Bilhah to her husband, and he had intercourse with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and bore Jacob a son. 6Rachel said, “God has judged in my favour. He has heard my prayer and has given me a son”; so she named him Dan. 7Bilhah became pregnant again and bore Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “I have fought a hard fight with my sister, but I have won”; so she named him Naphtali.

9When Leah realized that she had stopped having children, she gave her slave Zilpah to Jacob as his wife. 10Then Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11Leah said, “I have been lucky”; so she named him Gad. 12Zilpah bore Jacob another son, 13and Leah said, “How happy I am! Now women will call me happy”; so she named him Asher.

14During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the fields and found mandrakes, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.”

15Leah answered, “Isn't it enough that you have taken away my husband? Now you are even trying to take away my son's mandrakes.”

Rachel said, “If you will give me your son's mandrakes, you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”

16When Jacob came in from the fields in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You are going to sleep with me tonight, because I have paid for you with my son's mandrakes.” So he had intercourse with her that night.

17God answered Leah's prayer, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has given me my reward, because I gave my slave to my husband”; so she named her son Issachar. 19Leah became pregnant again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now my husband will accept me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun. 21Later she bore a daughter, whom she named Dinah.

22Then God remembered Rachel; he answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “God has taken away my disgrace by giving me a son. 24May the LORD give me another son”; so she named him Joseph.

Jacob's Bargain with Laban

25After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Let me go, so that I can return home. 26Give me my wives and children that I have earned by working for you, and I will leave. You know how well I have served you.”

27Laban said to him, “Let me say this: I have learnt by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28Name your wages, and I will pay them.”

29Jacob answered, “You know how I have worked for you and how your flocks have prospered under my care. 30The little you had before I came has grown enormously, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I went. Now it is time for me to look out for my own interests.”

31“What shall I pay you?” Laban asked.

Jacob answered, “I don't want any wages. I will continue to take care of your flocks if you agree to this suggestion: 32Let me go through all your flocks today and take every black lamb and every spotted or speckled young goat. That is all the wages I want. 33In the future you can easily find out if I have been honest. When you come to check up on my wages, if I have any goat that isn't speckled or spotted or any sheep that isn't black, you will know that it has been stolen.”

34Laban answered, “Agreed. We will do as you suggest.” 35But that day Laban removed the male goats that had stripes or spots and all the females that were speckled and spotted or which had white on them; he also removed all the black sheep. He put his sons in charge of them, 36and then went away from Jacob with this flock as far as he could travel in three days. Jacob took care of the rest of Laban's flocks.

37Jacob got green branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees and stripped off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them. 38He placed these branches in front of the flocks at their drinking troughs. He put them there, because the animals mated when they came to drink. 39So when the goats bred in front of the branches, they produced young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted.

40Jacob kept the sheep separate from the goats and made them face in the direction of the streaked and black animals of Laban's flock. In this way he built up his own flock and kept it apart from Laban's.

41When the healthy animals were mating, Jacob put the branches in front of them at the drinking troughs, so that they would breed among the branches. 42But he did not put the branches in front of the weak animals. Soon Laban had all the weak animals, and Jacob all the healthy ones. 43In this way Jacob became very wealthy. He had many flocks, slaves, camels, and donkeys.

The Preaching of John the Baptist

1This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It began as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“God said, ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you

to clear the way for you.’

3Someone is shouting in the desert,

‘Get the road ready for the Lord;

make a straight path for him to travel!’ ”

4So John appeared in the desert, baptizing and preaching. “Turn away from your sins and be baptized,” he told the people, “and God will forgive your sins.” 5Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the River Jordan.

6John wore clothes made of camel's hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 7He announced to the people, “The man who will come after me is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to bend down and untie his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus

9Not long afterwards Jesus came from Nazareth in the province of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10As soon as Jesus came up out of the water, he saw heaven opening and the Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you.”

12At once the Spirit made him go into the desert, 13where he stayed forty days, being tempted by Satan. Wild animals were there also, but angels came and helped him.

Jesus Calls Four Fishermen

14After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and preached the Good News from God. 15“The right time has come,” he said, “and the Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!”

16As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, catching fish with a net. 17Jesus said to them, “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people.” 18At once they left their nets and went with him.

19He went a little farther on and saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat getting their nets ready. 20As soon as Jesus saw them, he called them; they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went with Jesus.

A Man with an Evil Spirit

21Jesus and his disciples came to the town of Capernaum, and on the next Sabbath Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people who heard him were amazed at the way he taught, for he wasn't like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority.

23Just then a man with an evil spirit in him came into the synagogue and screamed, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are — you are God's holy messenger!”

25Jesus ordered the spirit, “Be quiet, and come out of the man!”

26The evil spirit shook the man hard, gave a loud scream, and came out of him. 27The people were all so amazed that they started saying to one another, “What is this? Is it some kind of new teaching? This man has authority to give orders to the evil spirits, and they obey him!”

28And so the news about Jesus spread quickly everywhere in the province of Galilee.

Jesus Heals Many People

29Jesus and his disciples, including James and John, left the synagogue and went straight to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever, and as soon as Jesus arrived, he was told about her. 31He went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them.

32After the sun had set and evening had come, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those who had demons. 33All the people of the town gathered in front of the house. 34Jesus healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases and drove out many demons. He would not let the demons say anything, because they knew who he was.

Jesus Preaches in Galilee

35Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of the town to a lonely place, where he prayed. 36But Simon and his companions went out searching for him, 37and when they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38But Jesus answered, “We must go on to the other villages round here. I have to preach in them also, because that is why I came.”

39So he travelled all over Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and driving out demons.

Jesus Heals a Man

40A man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to Jesus, knelt down, and begged him for help. “If you want to,” he said, “you can make me clean.”

41Jesus was filled with pity, and stretched out his hand and touched him. “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean!” 42At once the disease left the man, and he was clean. 43Then Jesus spoke sternly to him and sent him away at once, 44after saying to him, “Listen, don't tell anyone about this. But go straight to the priest and let him examine you; then in order to prove to everyone that you are cured, offer the sacrifice that Moses ordered.”

45But the man went away and began to spread the news everywhere. Indeed, he talked so much that Jesus could not go into a town publicly. Instead, he stayed out in lonely places, and people came to him from everywhere.

The King Honours Mordecai

1That same night the king could not get to sleep, so he ordered the official records of the empire to be brought and read to him. 2The part they read included the account of how Mordecai had uncovered a plot to assassinate the king — the plot made by Bigthana and Teresh, the two palace eunuchs who had guarded the king's rooms. 3The king asked, “How have we honoured and rewarded Mordecai for this?”

His servants answered, “Nothing has been done for him.”

4“Are any of my officials in the palace?” the king asked.

Now Haman had just entered the courtyard; he had come to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on the gallows that was now ready. 5So the servants answered, “Haman is here, waiting to see you.”

“Show him in,” said the king.

6So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “There is someone I wish very much to honour. What should I do for this man?”

Haman thought to himself, “Now who could the king want to honour so much? Me, of course.”

7-8So he answered the king, “Order royal robes to be brought for this man — robes that you yourself wear. Order a royal ornament to be put on your own horse. 9Then get one of your highest noblemen to dress the man in these robes and lead him, mounted on the horse, through the city square. Let the nobleman announce as they go: ‘See how the king rewards a person he wishes to honour!’ ”

10Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry and get the robes and the horse, and provide these honours for Mordecai the Jew. Do everything for him that you have suggested. You will find him sitting at the entrance of the palace.”

11So Haman got the robes and the horse, and he put the robes on Mordecai. Mordecai got on the horse, and Haman led him through the city square, announcing to the people as they went: “See how the king rewards a man he wishes to honour!”

12Mordecai then went back to the palace entrance while Haman hurried home, covering his face in embarrassment. 13He told his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then she and those wise friends of his said to him, “You are beginning to lose power to Mordecai. He is a Jew, and you cannot overcome him. He will certainly defeat you.”

Haman is Put to Death

14While they were still talking, the palace eunuchs arrived in a hurry to take Haman to Esther's banquet.

1From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus and an apostle chosen and called by God to preach his Good News.

2The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures. 3It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David; 4as to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death. 5Through him God gave me the privilege of being an apostle for the sake of Christ, in order to lead people of all nations to believe and obey. 6This also includes you who are in Rome, whom God has called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7And so I write to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his own people:

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the whole world is hearing about your faith. 9God is my witness that what I say is true — the God whom I serve with all my heart by preaching the Good News about his Son. God knows that I remember you 10every time I pray. I ask that God in his good will may at last make it possible for me to visit you now. 11For I want very much to see you, in order to share a spiritual blessing with you to make you strong. 12What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.

13You must remember, my brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to visit you, but something has always kept me from doing so. I want to win converts among you also, as I have among other Gentiles. 14For I have an obligation to all peoples, to the civilized and to the savage, to the educated and to the ignorant. 15So then, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who live in Rome.

The Power of the Gospel

16I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles. 17For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through faith shall live.”

The Guilt of the Human Race

18God's anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of the people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known. 19God punishes them, because what can be known about God is plain to them, for God himself made it plain. 20Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! 21They know God, but they do not give him the honour that belongs to him, nor do they thank him. Instead, their thoughts have become complete nonsense, and their empty minds are filled with darkness. 22They say they are wise, but they are fools; 23instead of worshipping the immortal God, they worship images made to look like mortal human beings or birds or animals or reptiles.

24And so God has given those people over to do the filthy things their hearts desire, and they do shameful things with each other. 25They exchange the truth about God for a lie; they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator himself, who is to be praised for ever! Amen.

26Because they do this, God has given them over to shameful passions. Even the women pervert the natural use of their sex by unnatural acts. 27In the same way the men give up natural sexual relations with women and burn with passion for each other. Men do shameful things with each other, and as a result they bring upon themselves the punishment they deserve for their wrongdoing.

28Because those people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God, he has given them over to corrupted minds, so that they do the things that they should not do. 29They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip 30and speak evil of one another; they are hateful to God, insolent, proud, and boastful; they think of more ways to do evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no conscience; they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or pity for others. 32They know that God's law says that people who live in this way deserve death. Yet, not only do they continue to do these very things, but they even approve of others who do them.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Mark 1.29–34

The way Mark tells the beginning of Jesus' ministry, it starts with a bang. He gathers disciples and commences to cast out demons and heal people. The impression we get is of someone who may be a huge public figure, but who still has time for people. The mother-in-law of Simon (Peter) is ill; Jesus 'came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them' (verse 31, ESV). There is a quiet pastoral care in what he does. We might think she deserved some peace after being ill, but 'she served them' is meant to stress her return to full health and strength. Her healing inspires others to come as well; that evening, the whole town gathers for ministry.

This story inspired one of the most beautiful English hymns. It begins:

At even, ere the sun was set,
the sick, O Lord, around thee lay;
O in what divers pains they met!
O with what joy they went away!

The writer, Henry Twells, goes on to think of the different needs with which we too come to Christ: '... some are sick, and some are sad,/ And some have never loved thee well,/ And some have lost the love they had.'

The hymn ends:

Thy touch has still its ancient power;
no word from thee can fruitless fall:
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
and in thy mercy heal us all.

All of us need healing in some way. Christ still comes to us today.

Pray

Pray

God, help me to trust in your healing and forgiving power. Bless me and those I love, as you blessed those who came to you on that evening in Capernaum.

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