The key verse in the Gospel according to Mark is found in Mark 10:45, which says "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark is going to show us that Jesus is a servant, even when things got tough, when He was tired, when the pressure was on. And Mark used Jesus as an example, as a source of encouragement for the believers in Rome who were not only being persecuted, but some were being put to death for their faith in Christ.
And as we continue our study, if you remember from last time, Jesus is in Capernaum, teaching in the Synagogue on the Sabbath, then He goes to Peters house, and that evening a multitude of people came flowing in and out of Peters house, wanting to be touched by Jesus and healed. And from verse 21 through verse 45 of Mark chapter 1 we see Jesus have authority over four different areas.
He showed that He had authority over the demons by healing a demon possessed man. He had authority over disease by healing Peters mother-in-law who was very sick. And tonight we are going to see Jesus have authority over the flesh and the power, the works of sin in a persons life.
So as we continue on, keep in mind that Jesus had a very busy day of ministry. From the Synagogue, to Peters house, to the multitudes that came by to be healed, and they were coming late into the night. And after a fruitful and busy day of ministry, you would think that Jesus deserved to sleep in. But that is not what He does, as we are going to see in verse 35 as a new day begins.
1. The word that is used for "morning" speaks of the last watch of the night, which was from 3 AM to 6 AM. Now dont get the impression that Jesus slept in till 6 AM, for it says that He arose a long time before the sun was up. So it was probably a lot closer to 3 AM than it was to 6 AM!
2. Why would Jesus do this? Because Jesus rightly recognized where His strength, His direction came from. You see, I think we have developed a wrong perspective of Jesus earthly ministry. Jesus, who was 100% God, had the ability to just snap His fingers, speak into existence whatever He wanted. And that is how it happened, right? Wrong! Yes, Jesus is fully God, but during His earthly ministry He emptied Himself of some of His Godly attributes and thus He never did any miracles based on who He was, the Son of God, but He did them by the Spirit of God that dwelt in Him. That is why Jesus is our example! I may not fully understand how Jesus could emptied Himself of some of His Godly attributes and still be God, but that is what the Scriptures say, and thus, I must believe it by faith. In fact in John 5:30 Jesus said "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."
3. All of us can become very busy with our schedules, but I cant believe we are busier than Jesus. And the pattern of His life was to spend time with the Father, it was His source of strength, comfort, direction. Prayer was an important part of Jesus life and it should be important to us.
4. When you look at the things Jesus prayed about throughout the Gospels, I think we can learn a lot of what we should be praying about. Jesus prayed for the Fathers will to be done, so should we. Jesus prayed for His disciples, His men, those who were close to Him, and so should we. He prayed for others, and so should we. When prayer is not a priority, when it is not important to us, we tend to become dependant on self, doing things on our own, through the energy of our flesh, instead of God dependant and doing things through the power of His Spirit.
5. And so we see Jesus wake up early, go to a deserted place, where He can spend time in prayer, alone with the Father.
1. The sun came up, morning had broken, and Jesus men woke up. And to their surprise, Jesus was missing, so they are going out looking for Him.
1. Finally they found Jesus and they were a little annoyed with Him. Things were happening the night before, revival was breaking out in their minds, and Jesus was going to miss this golden opportunity. In fact, the crowds had already started to gather at Peters house, an open door for ministry, and Jesus wasnt there!
1. Now this is interesting to me. Things were happening in Capernaum, how did Jesus know to move on, why did He do it? Because He just finished spending time with the Father in prayer, and as He did, His day was directed to move to other towns, for in the area of Galilee there were some 10,000 people living, many towns to go to.
2. Also, Jesus did not necessarily come to heal people physically, although He did that a lot to authenticate who He was, His ministry, He had compassion on those that were sick. But He came to give the Good News of eternal life, the love of God for sinful man, that God wanted to cleanse them. You see, the night before many were healed physically but we are not told about their hearts, if they were changed. And that is what Jesus came to tell them, to get right with God, He wants to heal you, He wants to cleanse you from your sins!
1. Jesus came to deliver us from the power of the devil, the bondage of sin we were in, and that is GREAT NEWS!!!!!
1. Leprosy was and still is a horrible disease. Today we might think of it along the same lines as cancer or AIDS, deadly, destroying a persons body, eating it away. Now we dont know a lot about this disease, but it is produced by a bacteria that travels along the nerve endings and destroys them. Thus, you have no feelings in your hands or feet and because of that they get injured, the tissue rots, and the fingers or extremities fall off. It could be your fingers, toes, nose, ears and-so-on. This disease destroys you from the inside out, working on your extremities to your torso.
Even today there is no cure, even though we have medication to slow down its progression. We are not sure how it is transmitted, but once you get this disease, you will die, and the progression to death was a painful 9 years or so. Now we know there is a huge stigma related to the name "leprosy" and so they have changed the name to Hansens disease, named after the Swedish doctor who isolated the bacteria.
2. Leprosy, in the Scriptures, is always a type or picture of sin. You see, the sin nature is give to us at birth, we are not sure how it is transmitted, but we are all born with it. And this sin nature leaves us unfeeling, uncaring, it begins to rot us away, disfiguring our life, leaving us smelly, until it finally consumes us and destroys us. If you had leprosy you were considered the walking dead. It was a progressive disease that will finally kill you and sin is no different. You are spiritually dead, and like leprosy, there is no human cure for it, you can do nothing for it on your own!
3. Now according to the Law of Moses, you had to isolate yourself from family, friends, you lived with others outside the city with those that also had this horrible disease. And this man was willing to break the Law because this was probably his last chance. He was so bad he probably was dying, he did nt have long to live. In fact Luke expounds on that thought when he tells us in Luke 5:12, "And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." So really he had nothing to lose, he was dying anyway, this was his last chance.
4. Now I want you to notice the faith of this man. He recognized that Jesus could cleanse him. Now he asks if Jesus is willing, for if He was, then this man was ready to receive His cleansing. You see, you will not find any healing for leprosy, but only a cleansing. And the same is true for sin. You dont need to be healed from your sin, but cleansed, and only Jesus can do that and He wont do that until you recognize that you are sick!
1. That word "compassion" in the Greek is SPLANCHISTHEIS, which means "having deep pity". It is the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you feel someones pain, their hurt. You are empathizing with them. That is how Jesus felt for this man, He was moved to help him out of this condition. And that truly is the heart of God for wicked man! He desires to reach out and touch people, to cleanse them. And according to the Law if you touched someone with leprosy, you too were unclean for a time. Why did Jesus do it? Because the needs of the people superceded the Law. And as much as God wants to do that, He wont force anyone, we must come to Him, aware of our condition, and ask Him to make us clean, to cleanse us from our sin. It is as Paul said in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
1. As with leprosy, the same is true with sin. The moment you call upon God to cleanse you, you are saved, you are cleansed. Salvation is not a process by working your way into heaven, it is a free gift of God. Paul said in II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." That old rotting sin nature is replaced with a new nature that is given to us by God.
1. As we are going to see, when God touches you and gives you a new life, it is impossible to keep silent about it, or at least it should be.
2. Back in Leviticus 14:1-2 we read, "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest." And this whole chapter deals with things that needed to be done when a person with leprosy was cleansed. Now that did not happen too often, only twice in the Old Testament. First to Miriam when God struck her with leprosy when she rebelled against Moses and then God cleansed her, and you will find that in Numbers 12:10-15. And then the second cleansing is that of a gentile, a Syrian general who was healed in II Kings 5:1-14. This was a physical impossibility, and yet God provided a provision in the Law so that if God did cleanse someone, this is what they needed to do. And just as with leprosy, God is the only one who can cleanse you from your sin!
3. Think about this for a minute, the priests most likely never witnessed a cleansing like this. Leviticus chapter 14 was not a reality to them until this day. And can you imagine the talk around the temple, "We had a Leviticus 14 today!" It must have been impressive to them. And this man, who was an outcast, now could be accepted back into society once he showed himself to the priests, waited the appropriate time and received a clean bill of health. So he traveled the 70 or so miles to Jerusalem to get this certificate.
1. I think the reason Jesus wanted him to remain silent was that Jesus did not want those who were only interested in physical healings to come. He wanted their heart, He wanted them to be cleansed spiritually. Yes Jesus had power over sin and the flesh nature, He alone could cleanse. And once this man was cleansed, he couldnt stop talking about what Jesus did, telling others of what took place. Today we get saved and Jesus tells us to go and tell others of what He has done, and we tell no one!
Maybe its because we dont recognize how sick we were, and what God has really done for us. If you recognize you were among the walking dead, and God brought you back to life, you would shout that from the rooftops. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20. It was His great commission to us. He said "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen."