The Sabbath was to be a day of rest and this first day was, sort of. From the first splash in the synagogue Jesus goes to Simon’s house and until sunset would have rest among his disciples. Then he would become very busy doing what we will learn he is very good at. His busyness, though, does not master him. He will go to God in prayer and become balanced.
Jesus Heals Many
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:29-39–ESV)
That Sabbath had some ordinary
There was nothing unusual in the fact that Jesus had gone to the synagogue. Neither was there anything unusual in going home after Sabbath services. It would not be extraordinary for Jesus to have been told that one of the matriarchs in the family was ill. Introductions, especially of those who would serve and help, would have been expected. She was sick; she could not be introduced. The sun had even risen that day and by verse 32 we see that the sun set that day. There was rest during the afternoon and work when the sun went down. So there was some ordinary.
Ordinary, though, was overshadowed by other things. He had taught in the synagogue with authority; that was unusual. He had cast out a devil by merely speaking to it. No ordinary thing there.
That Sabbath had a lot more extraordinary
Jesus brings help to the unpresentable…
Upon learning of a sick member of Simon’s family Jesus continued the shift toward extraordinary. The sick woman was lying ill and could not come to Jesus. Jesus went to her and not merely to introduce himself, but to care for her. He brought himself as the great healer to her bedside. Then, it is said, he took her “by the hand” and healed her. He was not afraid of her illness. She was sick and not presentable, but that was not something Jesus took into account.
She then got up and began serving them. Serving guests was almost assuredly her normal. The thing she was good at and comfortable with was not something she could do until Jesus healed her. When Jesus came, though, she was restored to her rightful place. She was restored to the thing that fit.
Then, the balance of the family having been restored Jesus, at least 4 of the disciples, and the others of the household enjoyed their Sabbath rest.
The unpresentable are brought to Jesus…
Since the Jewish nation operated under the Law of Moses little of the usual activity could be done until the Sabbath was officially over. It was over when the sun set. The rest stopped for the people of Capernaum and the rest stopped for the house where Jesus was.
There had been a buzz since the synagogue service finished. That new energy, that watershed moment, charged the air and the interactions. Surely word got out that Simon’s mother-in-law had been healed, and the word of that verbal exorcism was many hours old.
The human needs in Capernaum were not limited to one demon possessed person and one woman with a fever. There was great need and people came to Jesus for help with those needs. Jesus did not say, “oh great, look what I have done.” We do not even see what Jesus said, Mark did not record that. We see what Jesus did, though, and that was to work hard meeting many of the needs that were presented to him.
Jesus did not pronounce a general healing upon them all, but it seems he met with them bit by bit. He brought personal attention to the personal problems and changed the lives of the people that day. This set the stage for a great curse that would later fall upon them for they would eventually reject him despite the miracles done among them that day. While that sadness is known by us and may have been known by Jesus then, it was not known by the people. The people probably would have soundly rejected the idea that they would reject Jesus once he came out as the Christ.
Ordinary and Extraordinary repeat
Eventually the crowds dispersed and Jesus, Simon, Andrew, James, John, the mother-in-law and all others settled down for the evening. Some sleep happened. The sun would rise on the next day, but before it would do that Jesus rose. Jesus went out to a place where there were no crowds. Those people were still sleeping the sleep of amazement. Jesus prayed. Jesus, the man, went to God the Father. The buzz of life needed to be calmed by the presence of God.
Simon and company eventually woke. They looked over where Jesus had been sleeping. No Jesus! Maybe there was a knock on the door. Maybe relatives from other towns had traveled back and forth in the night and were arriving for a repeat performance of this miracle man. The scavenger hunt for that man began in earnest.
What happened when they found Jesus? They gave him a bit of a rebuke. How could he be off praying when people needed him so much? The problem was that only Jesus really understood needs. He had addressed his own need by forgoing sleep to meet with God. The needs that the townsfolk and even these fledgling disciples had were not physical, but spiritual.
Jesus laid some boundaries right from the get go. He left Capernaum not to go heal in other cities, but to preach. The message of Jesus was repent and believe the good news. Preaching was his purpose. Spiritual healing was the highest goal. Physical healing was tantalizing, but the immediate effect should not overshadow the eternal one. Jesus was balanced in the busyness by meeting with God.
How do we get balanced?
We need to make sure we set good boundaries around our lives as well. There are things that we may excel at that others may seek to dominate. It is best that we submit to God and let him dominate us. We need to understand how to hold our own strengths and use them for God, not allowing them to be manipulated in the name of God for others.
Key points from these verses:
- Jesus brings us help when we are unpresentable.
- Sometimes help comes when you do not even know how to expect it.
- Do you have needs? Take them to Jesus.
- Do those around you have needs? Take them to Jesus.
- Miracles will not ensure your salvation.
- Use the things you are good at in your family, your town.
- Never neglect time alone with God in prayer.
- Embrace godliness not the spotlight.
- Hold your capabilities correctly.
- Jesus’s purpose was to teach, instruct and example the new covenant.
- Jesus did not disregard the people, but they wanted amazement, not preaching.