THAT IS WHY I HAVE COME
Mark 1 :21-39
Key Verse 1:38
“Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else- to the nearby villages- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come”’
Mark tells us of the beginnings of the gospel. And in his account of gospel beginnings, he tells us how the gospel took shape. The Gospel began with God in eternity, and then took its shape in prophesy until it took on flesh in Jesus— the Son of God. Mark recognized that John the Baptist played a role in the Gospel by preparing the way for Jesus. Mark also recognized that at Jesus’ Baptism ceremony, God passed on the torch of the Gospel from John to Jesus. Mark then tells us that after Jesus’ faced temptations, he emerged victorious from the desert and went about calling disciples to follow him. The torch of the Gospel would someday be passed on from Jesus to them. And as it had been for the last two thousand years, the torch of the Gospel was passed on from them to us. The Gospel is not just a story to be told. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Rom1:16) When we hear it, we must believe it, accept it and also live by it.
After the calling of the disciples, Mark now focus on Jesus’ life and ministry. Everything he tells us about Jesus is concise and to the point. Mark’s stories about Jesus are so condensed and focused that we call his gospel the “power gospel” or the “faith gospel” because the stories are brief and usually have a powerful teaching. In this passage, Jesus begins the day teaching at the synagogue. He casts out a demon from a man, and spends the day healing the sick. He also spends the whole evening helping those who came to him for help. Then early the next morning, as he spends time in prayer and quiet meditation, he makes a momentous decision. As much as the work of healing and casting demons from suffering people is good and rewarding, it’s not why God had sent him. He says: “Let us go somewhere else- to the nearby villages- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” He did not mean that the healing the sick and helping the needy isn’t good. What he meant was that it shouldn’t be his priority in Gospel work. He had not come to relieve the human sufferings and ailments in the world, but had come to preach the Gospel which delivers men from sin and death. Jesus’ priority in Gospel work was to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. He knew that well. Do we? What are our priorities as we live in Christ and serve his purpose?
First, Jesus teaches with authority. (21-22) Read verse 21. “They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.” Remarkably, we find the Savior of the world— the King of kings humbly teaching the word of God in a rural synagogue. The synagogue was the church of the time. It was the heartbeat of the community. God’s People came to the synagogue to listen to the word of God and to draw strength from it. They needed the word of God to cope with the hardship of life. They needed the word of God to comfort them in their sorrows. They needed the word of God to remind them of God’s sovereignty in a troubled world. And in the synagogue they also found fellowship with brothers and sisters who shared in their sufferings. Especially on the Lord’s Day, they gathered to hear the word of God as it was read from the Bible and expounded on by their Rabbis. For 400 years since the last of the prophets, people had been gathering to hear the word of God in the synagogues all over the known the world. And so, after choosing a few disciples to raise in Gospel faith, Jesus begins his ministry by teaching the word of God in a synagogue.
But there was a difference in the way that Jesus taught the Bible to the people. He did not simply read it and attempt to explain what he was read. He taught it with a unique conviction, with an outpouring of love for the word of God and for the people who had gathered there to listen. And the result was that it caught their attention like never before. It was the beginning of the gospel in their hearts. It was the beginning of new life for them.
Read verse 22. “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” They were amazed because Jesus’ word had power and authority. When others taught from Sabbath to Sabbath, the people listened because the teaching was from the Bible. But what they heard had not stirred their hearts before. But when Jesus taught, his teaching had a great impact on them. It captured their attention, then their ears. Finally it found its way into their hearts and captured their very souls. A teaching is only a teaching, until it touches our hearts and captures our soul. Jesus’ words and teaching had that kind of authority. He taught it with faith and a conviction that the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. (Heb4:12) People of Jesus’ generation, as in any generation were desperate for change. Even a little change to their social and economic standard would have been like a breath of fresh air. And Jesus had the power and authority to change their human situation and make it better. But Jesus didn’t use his authority to make them slaves to worldly comfort and security. Instead he used his authority to teach them to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. (Mtt6:34) He believed the power of God’s word to deliver them from false hopes and to give them eternal hope. With faith in the authority of the word of God he also raised a motley of disciples to carry on the Gospel work.
Second, the power of Jesus’ word. (23-27) Jesus’ word was not only captivating and heart moving, but it also had power over the demon-world. Look at verses 23,24. The demon-possessed man sitting in the synagogue went virtually unnoticed. No one knew he was demon possessed. The demon inside him never felt threatened before by any teaching, nor by the reciting of God’s laws and regulations. But something happened on this day that disturbed the demon. Jesus was teaching the word of God with faith and conviction. Jesus was not reciting rules and regulations. He was preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. He exhorted people to believe the love of God. He urged them to accept the word of God as the word of life. He warned them to repent of their sins and to ask God’s forgiveness, and to turn their hearts to God. It was a teaching filled with the grace and truth of God. People were touched to know that God really loves them. Others were touched to know that God wanted nothing more than to forgive them. The demon-possessed man must have also been touched. This hopeless man, whose life had been full of despair suddenly began to reach out his heart to God.
But while the man felt the spark of God’s word touch his heart, the demon in him felt the sentence of death upon itself. Suddenly he panicked. Desperate to hinder the salvation in this man’s heart, the demon expressed its own fears. Maybe he wanted the man not to hold on to the love of God, but to wallow in a sense of condemnation. But it was too late. As soon as Jesus felt the man’s soul awaken, his heart went out to the man with compassion. And Jesus demonstrated the love of God for this miserable man by rebuking the demon to leave him. Look at verses 25,26. With the word of his mouth, Jesus drove out the demon that had tortured the man for years. Jesus delivered him from his agony of soul and set him free to live as he was originally made to live as a man made in image of God. After this, we might imagine that the man no longer listened to demon’s lies and temptations but set his heart on listening to the word of God. People to this day still suffer from demons and evil spirits that whisper lies to them until they can no longer hear the voice of God but only hear the voices of this world. What can we do for them? Some people think that to drive out a demon, one must learn the art of exorcism. But the truth is that we only need to give them the word of God with faith and conviction. Like Jesus, we too must trust the word of God has the power to drive out evil spirits from people’s hearts.
Third, Jesus shows compassion to many. (28-34) Look at verse 29-31. Jesus then went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. There, Jesus took the time to heal Peter’s mother in law who was sick. Jesus’ healing of this woman reveals many beautiful things about Jesus. It reveals the true character of the Christian ministry. Some would think that the powerful and amazing Messiah of the world should have no time to take care of one insignificant woman. His schedule is far too busy with greater engagements than to worry about one suffering woman. Some might think that it is better that he devote himself to larger crowds where he might reach more people and gain better recognition and grow in popularity. The world thinks like this. But Jesus, the prince of heaven stopped everything in order to tenderly care for this suffering woman.
Interestingly, we also wonder at what she did upon her healing. Read verse 31. “So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” She had only been an insignificant woman in an ocean of humanity. She had been trapped into a meaningless life of menial chores. But when Jesus healed her body, her soul was also healed. When her soul was healed, she found new meaning to life, “She began to wait on Jesus and his disciples.” She became part of gospel history. Many are healed by the mercy of God. But few are they who wait on Jesus and serve his purpose. These are the ones who understand the greater purpose of God’s mercy in their lives— to wait on Jesus and to serve his purpose. Look at verses 32-34. That night the whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many. It must have been a hectic night for Jesus who in compassion couldn’t turn down anyone.
Fourth, this Is why I have come. (35-39) In his hectic work Jesus had no personal time. But he needed time alone with God, for the soul ever seeks communion with God. Read verse 35. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Prayer was the power source of Jesus’ life and ministry. Jesus prayed because he loved God. He prayed because he had faith in God. He prayed for strength to carry out the will of God. He prayed for the kingdom of God to come to the hearts of God’s suffering people. He prayed for his disciples to grow in God’s grace and truth until they could fulfill God’s world salvation plan. Jesus prayed early in the morning to renew his decision to follow and obey the will of God. If we often find ourselves disheartened and despaired not knowing what we ought to do, it’s probably because we do not find time to spend with God in prayer.
While Jesus prayed, his disciples found no time to pray because the ministry in Peter’s house suddenly doubled and tripled and there was too much to do. Read verses 36 and 37. “Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you’” They were excited! They said: “Everyone is looking for you!” What they meant was: “There are many more who need you healing. There is much work still to be done. Let’s not waste time here.” What a tremendous temptation for Jesus, whose heart was as big as an ocean! It was a temptation because Jesus cannot bare to see even one person suffer. It was a temptation because Jesus could spend the rest of his earthly ministry tending to the needs of the suffering crowds. In this time of temptation when a hospital and a center for social work were much needed for these suffering people, what did Jesus do?
Read verse 38. “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else— to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’” Jesus had the power to heal people’s bodies. But Jesus did not think that healing the body was the purpose of his coming as the Savior of the world. Rather Jesus believed that the purpose of his coming was to preach the word of God.
When Jesus said, “That is why I have come,” he revealed the purpose of his coming to this world. Jesus did not come to mainly restore health to the body, but to bring healing and life to the sin-sick soul. Jesus came to this world not to achieve glory, fame and fortune, but to preach the good news of the kingdom of God to those suffering from sin. Jesus mainly came to teach the word of God. It was the purpose of his coming. He prayed, and God revealed the main purpose of his coming. It was the truth he needed to hold on to, “That is why I have come”! Jesus knew what he had come to do. He had come to preach the coming of the kingdom of God. There are many who do not know what God would have them do. So they do what they think God wants them to do. And in that way, they do not fulfill the will of God in their lives. But Jesus was certain of why he had come. He is not only our Savior but he is our teacher and the one we must learn from in every aspect of our lives. As he had priorities, we too must have priorities, not from what our hearts or heads tell us but from what the Lord puts on our hearts when we pray and earnestly seek his will. I must ask myself then: “Have I come to achieve something for myself or have I come to fulfill God’s purpose in my life? Is what I do a product of my own desire, even if it were a noble desire, or the product of prayer and of faith and submission to the will of God?” Let’s learn from Jesus the priority in Christian life— teaching and preaching the word of God above all else. Amen.