The Book of Mark
JESUS HEALED THE SICK
Text: MARK 1:29-45
1. We left off last time at Mark 1:28. Our Lord was in the synagogue at Capernaum, when a demon-possessed man cried out to Him (1:24).
2. Our Lord commanded the devil to come out of the man, and the people were all amazed (1:25-28; cf. 1:32-34, 39).
3. In addition to casting out devils, our Lord moved from town to town preaching (1:37-39a).
4. He also healed the sick (1:29-34, 40-42).
5. We see very clearly in the Gospel of Mark that the preaching of the Gospel and the healing of the sick went together in the salvation that our Lord came to bring.
6. Both are given as proof that Jesus was the Messiah. One miracle followed another in quick succession - “And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue…” (1:29; cf. 1:21).
7. Everywhere Jesus went He healed the sick. Andrew Murray said, “Jesus, who took upon Him the soul and body of man, delivers both in equal measure from the consequences of sin.”
8. All throughout the Gospel of Mark we see our Lord casting out devils and healing the sick. These miracles of healing illustrate how our Lord delivers sinners from the horrible results of sin.
(1) Healing of the man with the unclean spirit (1:23-26) - the uncleanness of sin.
(2) Healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (1:29-31) - the feverishness and restlessness of sin.
(3) Healing of the leper (1:40-45) - the loathsomeness of sin.
(4) Healing of the man sick of the palsy (paralytic - 2:1-12) - the helplessness caused by sin.
(5) Healing of the man with the withered hand (3:1-5) - the uselessness caused by sin.
(6) Delivering of the demoniac (5:1-20) - the misery, violence, and terror of sin.
(7) The woman with an issue of blood (5:25-34) - sin’s power to sap life’s vitality.
(8) The raising of Jairus’ daughter (5:21-24, 35-43) - spiritual death caused by sin.
(9) The healing of the Syrophenician woman’s daughter (7:24-30) - the bondage of sin and Satan.
(10) Healing of the deaf man with a speech impediment (7:31-37) - inability to hear God’s Word, and to speak of spiritual things.
(11) Healing of the blind man (8:22-26) - sinners blinded by sin and Satan.
(12) Healing of the demon-possessed boy (9:14-29) - the cruelty of Satan’s dominion.
(13) Healing of blind Bartimaeus (10:46-52) - the blind and beggarly state to which sin reduces. (Adapted from William MacDonald, Commentary).
I. SIMON PETER’S MOTHER-IN-LAW HEALED (1:29-31).
II. OTHER HEALINGS (1:32-39).
III. A LEPER CLEANSED (1:40-45).
I. SIMON PETER’S MOTHER-IN-LAW HEALED (1:29-31).
1. Note that Simon Peter had a wife (1:30). The RCC teaches that Peter was their first pope, and that popes cannot be married. There is also a reference to Peter (called “Cephas”) having a wife in I Corinthians 9:5. We do not know her name.
2. The house was shared by Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (1:29). Peter’s wife and mother-in-law lived there too. We do not know if they had any children, or if Andrew was married.
3. John 1:44 tells us that Andrew and Peter were originally from the town of Bethsaida.
4. Peter’s mother-in-law “lay sick of a fever” (1:30). Luke tells us it was a “great fever” (Luke 4:38).
5. Our Lord healed her, “and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them” (1:31).
6. One commentator wrote, “There was no lingering weakness or lassitude, such as accompanies ordinary convalescence. Her strength fully restored, she at once resumed her normal domestic functions, rendering beneficial ministries to the guests” (D Edmond Hiebert, The Gospel of Mark).
II. OTHER HEALINGS (1:32-39).
1. It is helpful to compare Mark’s account with Matthew and Luke. Matthew 8:16, 17 says, “When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”
2. Those who teach that there is healing in the atonement base their doctrine on Matthew 8:17. Matthew is quoting Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
3. Another important Scripture is I Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (cf. Isaiah 53:5).
4. As our Lord moved about men He manifested His compassion and power by delivering them from their diseases. In our Lord’s deep, tender sympathies, He entered into the sorrows and sufferings of those whom He healed.
5. For example, you may recall what happened when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of His garment (cf. Mark 5:24-34).
6. Mark 5:30 says, “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue (power) had gone out of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?”
7. Our Lord perceived that virtue had gone out of Him. It cost Jesus something to heal people. He truly did bear the infirmities and diseases of others. He felt with them and for them.
8. But to go further, and teach that Jesus died on the cross for our sicknesses as well as our sins, is to misinterpret the Bible.
9. Jesus died for our sins, not for our sicknesses. If our Lord made atonement for sicknesses, then those that believe in Jesus should always be healed.
10. But the Bible does not teach that those that believe in Jesus are always healed. Consider the apostle Paul (II Cor. 12:5-10). It is not necessary for us to attempt to identify Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (12:7). But we do know it was physical - it was in his flesh.
11. Paul suffered from this infirmity. And he asked the Lord to heal him three times, and God chose not to heal him (II Cor. 12:8, 9).
12. Eventually Paul stopped praying for healing and he humbly submitted to God’s will (it was not God’s will to heal Paul at this time). “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities…” (II Cor. 12:9).
13. Consider Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-30). “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death” (2:27, 30). Epaphroditus did not seek out a so-called “faith healer.” No miraculous healing took place.
14. And that’s because it is not always God’s will to heal. And healing is not part of the atonement.
15. Consider Timothy (I Tim. 5:23). Consider Trophimus (II Tim. 4:20).
16. Before moving on, let me stress that our lord’s main activity was preaching (1:38, 39). Casting out devils and healing was secondary.
17. This morning I referred to the two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Our Lord’s ministry demonstrated that the establishment of the kingdom of God meant the overthrow of the kingdom of Satan (1:34, 39).
III. A LEPER CLEANSED (1:40-45).
1. Leprosy is a type of sin from the standpoint of its being incurable and defiling. In nearly every case of healing, the leper is said to be “cleansed” (1:42), reminding us that in the Bible leprosy pictures the defilement of sin and the need for cleansing.
2. There are certain things to be said of leprosy that are all true of sin. Leprosy, like sin is a loathsome disease; it is an infectious disease; and it is an incurable disease.
3. Like sin, leprosy is deeper than the skin (Lev. 13:3). Like sin, leprosy spreads (Lev. 13:7, 8), and as it spreads, it defiles (Lev. 13:44, 45).
4. Because of his defilement, the leper had to be isolated outside the camp (Lev. 13:46). And because of his sin, the impenitent sinner must be kept isolated in hell.
5. Leprosy was greatly dreaded and a very dreadful disease. It was both disfiguring and fatal. The heathens did not know what to do with lepers, but God instructed the Israelites to quarantine them (Lev. 13:46). From these Biblical instructions, leper colonies were later established. I read that there are still over ten million lepers in the world today.
6. Lepers were forbidden to approach other people. To prevent accidental contact they were required to call out “Unclean” (Lev. 13:45).
7. Lepers had no way of earning a living and had to depend on charity. The psychological effects of all of this seem to have been as serious as the physical effects.
8. In the NT we see our Lord healing lepers and He regarded this as one of the signs that He was the promised Messiah (Luke 7:19-23).
9. This leper saw Jesus and knelt down, and beseeched Him, saying, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean” (Mark 1:40). He desperately needed to be cleansed.
10. Today there are many sinners who are deeply involved in destructive, ugly, horrifying sins, and they too desperately need to be cleansed.
11. Leprosy is defiling, and so are the popular sins of today - adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, drugs, and alcohol.
12. “The cleansing stream, I see, I see! I plunge, and oh, it cleanseth me! Oh! Praise the Lord, it cleanseth me, It cleanseth me, yes, cleanseth me!”
13. “And I know…yes, I know…Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean. And I know…yes, I know…Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.”
14. This poor man was “full of leprosy” (Luke 5:12). He was in bad shape. His was an advanced case. Humanly speaking, he was quite hopeless. But he had faith in Jesus. He said, “Thou canst make me clean” (Mark 1:40).
15. Then our Lord healed this leper and he was immediately healed (1:41, 42). Have you ever wondered why Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn have never been able to heal a leper? After all, there are over ten million of them! Certainly they are not difficult to locate!
16. Doctors and investigators have looked into some of these alleged healings claimed by faith healers like Benny Hinn and have discovered that they were all phony. But when Jesus healed people, it was real and it was “immediate” (1:42).
17. Jesus not only healed the leper, He “touched him” (1:41). This means that our Lord became unclean Himself. We have here a picture of what Christ did for us on the cross. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).
18. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree…” (I Peter 2:24). Christ touched this outcast and the man was cleansed.
19. Our Lord then gave the man specific instructions (1:43, 44). He was to tell no man, but was to show himself to the priest and present an offering as prescribed by Moses in Lev. 14.
20. This would be a testimony to the priest that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Leviticus 14 was in the Law but it is doubtful that any priest ever met a cleansed leper. Till Jesus came!
21. Our Lord told him to tell no man, “but he went out, and began to publish it much” (Mark 1:45). I heard a preacher say, “The Lord told the cleansed leper to tell no man, but he went and told everyone. The Lord told us to tell everyone, but we tell no one!”
I read an interesting story in Harry Ironside’s commentary on the Gospel of Luke.
“I remember reading some years ago in a medical journal of a dance which was held in the city of Calcutta, India, where there were many beautiful ladies, noblemen, people of wealth and culture. One young woman, the belle of the evening, was dancing with a Scottish doctor. He said, when he brought her back to her seat, ‘May I have a word with you? I hope you won’t take offense. I couldn’t help but notice it, but upon your shoulder there is a certain spot. Has it been there long?’ The young lady’s face colored. ‘Yes, doctor; it appeared some months ago, and it has bothered me considerably.’ He said, ‘I wish you would come down and see me tomorrow. I would like to call in a specialist along a certain line and have him look at this spot.’ The young lady was rather frightened, but she did as he asked, and the next day after a thorough examination of the spot, she received word that she had the disease of leprosy. One little spot upon her shoulder and yet the disease was working within, and soon it would be manifested more and more, and that beautiful body would be marked and scarred. Isn’t that just like sin? And yet so often it seems to be such a little thing to begin with; some habit which one knows is not right, so insignificant, and it grows and grows until at last sin is manifested in all its terrible corruption. A little sin leads to something worse, and it increases until it is emphasized in the whole life and is a spiritual form of leprosy.”