Thursday, August 23, 2007

What did Jesus really want to do – preach or heal?

We know that the ultimate reason and purpose Christ was sent to earth was to be the Savior of the world. With that being said, I would like to focus somewhat narrowly on the first chapter of the gospel of Mark which paints an interesting picture of the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It begins with Jesus being baptized by John, the Holy Spirit descending upon him, and then him spending time in the desert. After this, he begins his earthly ministry as a preacher / teacher:
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” – Mark 1:14-15
Jesus then drove a demon out of a man in the synagogue as he was preaching. The people were amazed. He then healed Simon’s Mother-in-Law and people lined up for healing.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. – Mark 1:32-33
What is interesting in this first chapter of Mark is what happens next. Even though there are many people still wanting Jesus to minister to them, Jesus decides it is time to move on to other villages. Why did he want to move on? Was it to heal others and drive out demons? Here is what Jesus said:
"Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." - Mark 1:38
Jesus wanted to get back to preaching. In fact, he stated that preaching was the reason he had come. However, did he ignore the physical needs of people as he preached? No. Mark immediately follows with a description of Jesus healing a leper. But, notice how Jesus clearly did not want the leper to tell people he had healed him. It appears as though Jesus did not want another crowd of people coming to him for healing because he wanted to continue his preaching: “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” However, the leper did “spill the beans” and the crowds came.

Remember, I am only examining the first chapter of Mark. But in doing so, it has uncovered this interesting angle on Jesus’ view of his ministry here on earth among us.

4 comments:

Anita Hensley said...

Eric,
sure have enjoyed your posts.
Re: preach or heal? Jesus came to restore that which was lost. He began his ministry by proclaiming the kingdom is at hand. A kingdom that was manifested in many ways, with healing being just one of the manifestations.
What kind of good news would it be if it were only talked about and never experienced?
To ask if Jesus came to preach or heal is like asking "What came first the chicken or the egg?" One without the other is incomplete.
Consider this in your reading...maybe Jesus just moved on to tell and heal more people. Afterall that is just what he did. Why do we see "Your sins are forgiven, rise up and walk" and "Rise up and walk, your sins are forgiven." so often?
A gospel (preaching) without experience (healing or whatever) is to have a form of godliness and deny the power thereof.

Eric Jones said...

Very nicely said.

Gord said...

To add... One thing I have learned about preaching is that the preacher must embody the message. If Jesus just went about preaching without the works and miracles that he did, then how would we know that he was authentic? I think it is a reminder to all of us who preach the gospel that we must also embody the message. Jesus said we would do the same and even greater works than he did, I think what he meant was that we must BE the message, not just preach it.
Good post, Eric.

Eric Jones said...

Gord,
Nice add