Proclaim, Process, Progress, Repeat
Mark 1:29-39 1:29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 1:30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 1:31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 1:32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 1:33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 1:34 And he cured 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. 1:35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 1:36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 1:37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 1:38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 1:39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
- We can learn a lot from this passage from Jesus, the disciples/ the crowd, and Peter’s mother-in-aw. We are still in the season of Epiphany—so what is being revealed today is the very essence of Jesus’ ministry and the appropriate response to it.
- Mark is believed to be the oldest gospel and with haste, gets right down to business outlining who Jesus is and why should we care—because of what he will do for all creation.
- What do we learn:
- God’s gift of grace extends beyond the synagogue. To the home and to the streets. Jesus first encounters the man plagued by demon possession in the synagogue, heals him and then goes into a home and does the same thing. In both of these episodes of healing, Jesus reveals that he will be the one to disrupt the system of evil, illness, and death. This represents an invitation to perceive his messianic victory over all that threatens to detract from God’s good creation; an invitation to perceive the Kingdom of God that had drawn near/ is at hand. Jesus also revealed that this kind of sacred encounter could happen just as easily in the synagogue, as in a home (in fact the earliest form of Christianity was the home-based church) and the streets—represented by the crowds who showed up outside the home of Peter’s mother- in- law. Jesus didn’t need special implements or special rituals associated with the synagogue, simply his presence.
- The Disciples and the crowd, recognize there is something special about Jesus—one who presented with power and authority like nothing they had experienced before.
- Peter’s mother-in law’s response to healing, to being made whole, was to serve. Serving in this case is a sign of honoring the person being served. It is a privilege of showing hospitality. We are helped in order to help others. We are healed that we might be an agent of healing in the world.
- Prayer– Jesus lives his life in this pattern of proclaiming, healing, praying. Prayer is the opportunity for God’s mind to replenish, nurture, and shape our minds. It strengthens us for the work which must be done. Jesus withdrew into the wilderness to pray. The Disciples tracked him down wanting for him to do more, more, more. But instead, though he could have done more, Jesus decided to move on to other areas in the region to repeat the cycle again. Proclaim, heal, pray.
- Throughout the AF Am experience in this country, we have seen Jesus at work in the church, homes, and in the streets. From the hush arbor gatherings, to homes where Black parents and grandparents shared stories of the faith with children and grandchildren, teaching old hymns and traditions of the church, to the streets where protests and demonstrations captured the attention of the country and the world, the cause of justice and freedom—
- Isaiah 61 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
- …Luke 4: 18-20 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20Then He rolled up the scroll, returned it to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him,…
- Shining example of one who followed the example of Jesus proclaiming, healing, and praying was Frederick Douglass. Born a slave in 1818, Douglass escaped and became a prominent activist and one of the most effective advocates for the abolition of slavery before, during, and after the Civil War. He was a licensed preacher in the AME Zion church where he proclaimed the gospel of liberation and freedom from oppression for a society that was broken, a country that was deeply divided and in need of healing. Even while he was climbing, he raised others—teaching slaves how to read by using the Bible as his text. Being able to read allowed Douglass to become aware of the conversation being waged in newspapers and books that was critical of the institution of slavery, something he had internally perceived since childhood.
- Throughout history, there has been no shortage of reasons or opportunities to proclaim, process, and pray. It’s up to us to continue to repeat. Amen.