Mark 1
Mark 1 Kingcomments Bible Studies


If we give a personal description of someone, we can do it from different angles. For example, we can highlight someone as the father of a family. It is also possible to describe the same person as a colleague or neighbor. In this way we see how four evangelists – under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – report on the life of the Lord Jesus during His stay on earth. Thus, in the four biographies we have in the Bible, Matthew talks in his Gospel about the Lord Jesus as King, Mark presents Him as a Servant, Luke describes Him as the true Man and John finally writes about Him as the eternal Son of God.

The purpose of this Gospel is that we look at the Lord Jesus as a Servant. That is why the call: “Behold, My servant” (Isa 42:1) has been chosen as the subtitle for this book. Whoever reads this Gospel with the desire to see Him as a Servant will come to know Him as the One Who has taken on the form of a slave (Phil 2:7), to be a Servant for all eternity (Lk 12:37).

Ger de Koning
Middelburg, September 2009, new version 2018, translated 2020

Purpose of the Gospel according to Mark

Of the four evangelists, Mark gives the clearest account of the historical order of the Savior’s service. He presents Him as the true Servant (Isa 53:11), in which He stands opposite Israel that has become an unfaithful servant. We see Him in this Gospel in the humble form of a slave (Phil 2:6-8; cf. Exo 21:6; Lk 12:37; Heb 5:8). Mark writes to Christians of the Gentiles, that they may learn how to serve in imitation of the true Servant.

In comparison with the other Gospels there are not many words of the Lord in this Gospel, but we read more about His work and service. This is expressed concisely in the key verse of this Gospel, which can also serve as a heading for it: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). This verse is also the connection between the two parts of this Gospel. The part before it is about His service, while the part after it is about Him as the sacrifice, as the sin offering.

The writer Mark

The fact that especially John Mark was allowed to write this Gospel is a special proof of the grace of God. As a companion of Paul and Barnabas, he abandoned them on their first missionary journey because of the Lord’s work (Acts 12:12; 25; Acts 13:13). He even becomes the cause of bitterness and separation between these two servants of the Lord (Acts 15:37; 39). But God is the God of the second chance. Mark has been restored from this failure (Col 4:10; 2Tim 4:11; 1Pet 5:13), so that he who himself has been an unfaithful servant can and may now write about the faithful Servant.

Beginning of the Gospel

From the beginning of this Gospel precautions are taken to ensure that we do not forget that the perfect Servant is also the Son of God. Therefore, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Mark first of all presents Him in His glory. He is “Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. He emphasizes this in Mk 1:2-3 with some Old Testament quotations.

His dignity as the Son of God shows that He voluntarily became a Slave, without being forced to do so by anyone. Also a genealogy is missing here because that is not important for a servant. Nor is anything communicated about His birth and youth. Only one thing is important to a servant, and that is his service.

The “beginning” Mark speaks of here does not refer to creation (Gen 1:1) and even less to His eternal existence (Jn 1:1). Nor does it refer to His coming to earth (1Jn 1:1). It refers to the beginning of His service on earth (cf. 2Thes 2:13; Phil 4:15). It is the beginning of the “gospel”, which means “good news”. Jesus Christ comes with a good message from God.

In the quote, which comes from Malachi 3 (Mal 3:1), it becomes clear that He of Whom the way is to be prepared is seen in His Godhead, which is as ‘Yahweh’. Here, in Mark, it says “ahead of You” (“You” is the Lord Jesus) and in Malachi it says that God says, “before Me”, that is before Yahweh. The “messenger” is John the baptist. He prepares the way in people’s hearts so that Yahweh can come into their hearts. This humble Man is none other than Yahweh, God Himself. This is also clear from the second quote. In it Isaiah speaks of preparing “the way of the LORD”, and that too is none other than Yahweh Himself (Isa 40:3).

The place of John’s action is “the wilderness”. This place indicates the spiritually dead state of Israel before God. John is nothing more than a “voice”. It is not about who he is, but about his message. Preparing the way must be done in the heart of man through repentance and conversion.

In Greek, “straight” is the same word as “immediately”, a word so often used in this Gospel. If we do not go straight paths, paths without turns or detours, we cannot act ‘immediately’. What John does is also a task for us. We, too, should preach that people should prepare the Lord’s way and straighten His paths without delay.

Preaching of John the Baptist

In this section we see the wayfarer and the way he prepares the way. For this John has gone out of the company that he must condemn. The place where he is staying is not Jerusalem, but the wilderness because it corresponds to the condition of the heart of man. The people must leave the city and come to him.

John is here ‘outside the camp’, which is the religious system established by God, but where He has no longer a place. He baptizes unto a living Messiah because only by this the Jews can partake of the promised blessings that are connected with the coming of the Messiah. For this conversion is needed first, with baptism after this.

All those who have the right mind to receive the Messiah come to him from their surroundings and confess their sins. In order to belong to the Messiah it is necessary to go outside the camp, to go out to Him (Heb 13:13). Both the place where John is – the wilderness (Mk 1:4) – and his clothing and food, show that he has separated himself from the mass of the people (cf. 2Kgs 1:8). Locusts are clean animals (Lev 11:22) and honey is the food of the land (Num 13:27).

He does not speak to the crowd here, but gives testimony concerning Christ. The Person of Whom he is the messenger is far above him. In spite of the enormous influx we see in John a deep humility and awareness of unworthiness. This is always so when we walk in the light of the Divine presence.

He also recognizes that the baptism performed by the Person of Whom he is the messenger is far above his baptism. He announces the Lord Jesus as the One Who will baptize with the Holy Spirit, which we see happening on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 (Acts 2:1-4; 33). One Who can pour forth the Holy Spirit in this way can be none other than God Himself. There is no mention here of baptism with fire, as there is in Matthew 3 and Luke 3 (Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16), because everything here is directly related to the Gospel work of the Lord in grace.

Baptism of the Lord Jesus

The Lord comes from Nazareth in Galilee. Nazareth is a despised city (Jn 1:46). The land of Galilee is despised because of its intermingling with the Gentiles (Mt 4:13-15), where the people speak a dialect (Mt 26:73). This backward area is the area where He grew up. In that respect, too, He has no prestige. The way of God leads Him from Nazareth in Galilee to the Jordan, for there He is to be baptized by John. From there He will begin His ministry.

In baptism Christ takes the place of His people before God. He has nothing to do with sin. But by letting Himself be baptized He shows His desire to join those of His people who, under the influence of the Word, are taking the first step in the right direction.

Coming up out of the water, He immediately sees the heavens opening, or being parted, and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. The word “immediately” appears about forty times in this Gospel. This word does not indicate haste, but indicates an action without hesitation, a decisive action.

God shows Him that He is parting the heavens. The parting of the heavens occurs only in this Gospel, which presents the Son as the perfect Servant. It shows the full joy of God over Him Who, in His baptism, unites Himself with His repentant people. The Lord Jesus sees the heavens opening, it is meant for Him. Receiving the Spirit is also personal for Him because He is worthy of it personally. The dove is the symbol of cleanness and peace. We receive the Spirit because He made us worthy because of His blood.

Then a voice comes out of the heavens that is also meant for Christ personally. The words are addressed to Him on earth. Earlier there was the voice, of John, in the wilderness to the people. Now the Father gives testimony concerning the Son, while the Spirit descends upon the Son. God shows His delight in His servant (Isa 42:1). This is the first time the Trinity is fully revealed.

Through this testimony of the Father from heaven concerning His Son, no one can misunderstand His baptism, as if He would be one of the many sinners who are baptized. This testimony precedes and supports His service. It is meant for bystanders, but addressed to the Lord Jesus personally. It is a personal encouragement before the beginning of His ministry.

Tempted in the Wilderness

After the Lord Jesus is irradiated by heavenly light, He now, impelled by the Spirit, enters into the presence of the prince of darkness. The first act of the Spirit is to lead Him to a field where He will be tested before He begins His public service. This also happens “immediately”, without delay.

He is also “impelled”, which indicates eagerness, determination to serve. This word indicates the great power of the Spirit that is available to Him as Man to defy the horror of the wilderness where satan tempts Him. It is His natural place to be with God, but love and obedience bring Him everywhere sin has brought us, to our deliverance.

When the first man appeared, he too was almost immediately tempted by the devil, and the first man failed. Now that the second Man appears, He must be tempted by the devil too. Mark speaks of “satan“, for it is about the opposition that Christ will encounter in His service from this enemy who spares no one and nothing. In totally different circumstances than Adam was, He remains standing. The first man was in paradise, the second Man is in a wilderness, in which the world has been changed by the sin of the first man and where satan is host.

He is “with the wild beasts”, animals that have become wild by the sin of man. They acknowledge in Him their Creator. He closed the mouth of lions when Daniel was with these beasts in the den (Dan 6:22). He is with them in majesty, while also being the humble Servant. We also see this fact in the angels who come after the temptations to serve Him. In Eden angels turned against the disobedient man (Gen 3:24), here they serve the obedient Man.

We hear no details about the temptations here, only the fact that He is tempted, the circumstances in which that happens, the result, and that the temptations last for forty days. The number forty represents a full time of trial. Satan uses all his wiles to lead the Lord away from the path of obedience.

We have the introduction to the Lord’s action in the preceding section (Mk 1:1-13). It is a brief introduction, but full of the dignity of His Person. We find four testimonies:
1. The testimony of the Word of God in two quotations which show that He is Yahweh (Mk 1:2-3);
2. the testimony of John: He is more than John (Mk 1:7-8);
3. the testimony of His personal glory as the beloved Son, testified in
(a) the descending of the Spirit upon Him and
b) what the Father says of Him (Mk 1:10-11);
4. the testimony of angels in their serving Him (Mk 1:13).

Start of the Service

John experiences the enmity of the world. He, who is Elijah who was to come (Mal 4:5), leaves the stage in a quite different way than was reserved for Elijah (2Kgs 2:1). This is the appropriate time for the Lord to begin His public service. The shining and burning lamp that John was (Jn 5:35) disappears with the coming of the Light, that is the Lord Jesus (Jn 1:5).

The first thing Christ does here is preach the gospel. In His service, the power of His word is always expressed. We notice that when His word sounds: “Follow Me” (Mk 1:17). That word works that four disciples follow Him immediately. Then He teaches the people with authority (Mk 1:22). He also speaks with authority and an unclean spirit comes out (Mk 1:25; 27).

He preaches that the kingdom of God is at hand. For He, the King of that kingdom, presents Himself. But we will see that the public power of the kingdom is postponed because He is rejected.

The reign of satan is visible in the world. Yet now, in the time in which we live, there is already an area where Christ is Lord and Master. This is the kingdom of God in its hidden form. Although the kingdom is not yet visible, it is present, namely, in the heart of those who accept Christ as the Lord of their life (Rom 14:17).

There is another important lesson in the announcement that John has been taken into custody with the immediate consequence that the Lord Jesus begins to preach. When a voice is silenced, God always raises a new voice to preach His gospel. Am I willing to be used when others are silenced? Am I prepared to go on, realizing that the same fate awaits me (possibly)?

The content of the Lord’s preaching is no different than that of John. The time has come for the kingdom of God to be established because the King is present. To enter the kingdom conversion and faith in the gospel are necessary. That its outward power cannot come, but will be delayed, is because the Preacher is rejected. But that is not yet the case here. The Lord begins by preaching the good news that God is introducing His kingdom, submitting everything to the authority of His Son. Those who repent will experience that God turns everything for the good of those who believe.

The First Disciples

The Lord wants followers and fellow workers in His service. He wants to take them with Him, that they may see how He works, and learn from Him. He wants to shape them so that they will proclaim the good news as His followers in the world. The four disciples who are called are diligent in their daily work. The Lord calls people in His service who also roll up their sleeves in society.

Peter and Andrew are fishing. Their profession is a striking picture of the work for which they are destined: catching fish from the sea of nations. On the day of Pentecost, Peter catches three thousand fish (Acts 2:41).

The Lord calls them to His service. Earlier He called them as sinners to give them eternal life (Jn 1:41-43). Now He wants them to become fellow workers in His service. First repentance, then calling them to follow Him and learn from Him, and thirdly, serving independently. It begins with “follow Me”. That means, not being in front of Him, but being close to Him in a way that they can see and hear how He is doing His service. In this way they, and we, can learn to serve.

The great Servant of God calls them and they obey immediately as servants who are subservient to Him. When He calls, everything must be left behind. This does not happen out of indifference to what they possess, but in the confidence that He will take care of what is left behind.

He calls two more brothers: James and John. They are busy mending the nets. This is a picture of restoring relationships among believers. This is beautifully rendered in 1 Corinthians 1 where the same Greek word that is translated here with “mending” is translated with “complete” (1Cor 1:10). This will later become their task, as the letters they wrote make clear. For this purpose they are now in training with the Lord. We see that servants have different tasks. No one can imitate or replace another. Each is needed in his place.

Also with these two brothers the call of the Lord is powerful. They leave their family relationships and their activities to follow Him. His calling is beyond earthly bonds, but without disregarding them to the slightest degree.

An Unclean Spirit Cast Out

In the section of Mk 1:21-39 we see a day in the Lord’s life, from early Saturday morning to early Sunday morning. For Him it is a day full of activity, for through sin there can be no rest for Him (Isa 43:24; Jn 5:17).

In Mk 1:17 it says that “He” walked. Here we read that “they”, that is He and His four disciples, enter Capernaum. The disciples receive their first teaching here. Capernaum is “His own city” (Mt 9:1), the city where He dwells (Mt 4:13). This city therefore has a great responsibility to accept Him (Mt 11:23). Capernaum is the center of His ministry in Galilee. In the same way, other cities have a certain mark in connection with Him. Bethlehem is the place of His birth, Nazareth is the city where He grew up and Bethany is the village of His friends.

It is Sabbath. The Sabbath is the day of rest, but not for the Servant. On the Sabbath, the Lord and His disciples go into the synagogue. The synagogue is the place where the Word of God is spoken and explained. The Lord teaches there. His Word comes with power. He does not proclaim theories, but the living Word of God that touches hearts and consciences.

The scribes with all their knowledge of the Scriptures communicate knowledge and impose a yoke on the hearers. They do not live in and out of the Word, but merely want to highlight their knowledge. Their doctrine is leaven. The Lord does not proclaim an opinion, but teaches with authority. The effect is not that the hearers directly come to faith through it, but that they feel the weight of what He speaks. His Word always does something (Isa 55:11). That which He speaks, He does not precede by “thus says the LORD”, for He is the LORD Himself.

The Word of God must be spoken with authority. He does so here as Servant. Speaking with authority is not contrary to humility of spirit, as long as there is no doubt of God’s thoughts. The scribes only hold opinions. The Lord does not need to strengthen His teaching by quoting human sources of authority, as His opponents do (Mk 7:7-8).

He does not just bring words, but speaks words that are clothed with the authority of God. It is not only about what a servant says, but also how he says it. People should feel that it is not just interesting what is said, but that God is speaking here. Scholars speak about their theories; the Lord speaks with authority. He does not speak as Servant out of Himself, but out of God.

He comes with the authority of Someone Who knows the truth He preaches. It is the authority that is in reality God’s, He Who can reveal the truth. He also speaks as Someone Who possesses this authority, and He gives the proof of it. The word that thus comes to man has power over demons.

Where He speaks, the power of the evil one cannot remain hidden. What is clear from God will always make the evil one active. In the Gospels it seems as if all cases of demon possession have gathered around the Lord. They will always have been there, but the presence of the Godly light now makes them reveal themselves. Through the presence of the Son of God, satan is cornered and unmasked. To some extent we can perceive this wherever the power of God’s truth and His holiness are at work.

It happens in “their synagogue” because there the authority of man applies, that is the authority of scribes. Their synagogue is dominated by an unclean spirit, that is the atmosphere that prevails there. This is directly connected with the teachings of people. A doctrine of man isn’t able to keep away an unclean spirit. The man has “an unclean spirit”, or is “in an unclean spirit” that is to say in the power of an unclean spirit. This is the opposite of being ‘in the Holy Spirit’. How is that with us? Are we in an unclean spirit, that is, is he in charge, or are we in the Holy Spirit, that is, is He in charge?

Demons acknowledge that there is no connection whatsoever between them and Christ. They also acknowledge that He has the power to destroy them and that this is also their ultimate destiny. People may deny His rights, but demons do not. However, He has not yet come to destroy them, but to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn 3:8). The demons confess Him as the Holy One of God. They have no control over Him because He lives in perfect separation or holy in the presence of God.

The Lord does not want a testimony of demons (cf. Acts 16:18). He does what He made Michael say (Jude 1:9) and rebukes the unclean spirit. In the same way He rebukes the winds and the sea and the fever (Mt 8:26; Lk 4:39). He commands the demons – there are several of them, as is evident from the words “we” and “us” – to come out of the possessed one. We don’t read anywhere that He has touched a possessed person, which He does with physically ill people.

This is the first time in this Gospel that He shows His power. We see in it what is fundamental to the blessing on earth and that is that satan is cast out. We can compare this to the first sign of Moses to prove his Divine calling as the deliverer of Israel: the taking up of the staff that had become a serpent (Exo 4:4).

The demons do not resist the word of the Lord and come out. They obey His commandment to remain silent and no longer speak. However, they do their best to make the man suffer as much as possible while coming out. When the devil is about to lose his prey, he rages most fiercely, emphasizing his true character. This shows once again that he is out to destroy. We also read about the casting out of demons in Mk 1:34 and Mk 1:39. The Lord is the “Someone stronger than he” (Lk 11:22) and plunders the devil’s house (Mt 12:29).

Deliverance here goes hand in hand with convulsions and crying. To become free is a struggle and goes hand in hand with violence. This also applies to us if we want to make ourselves spiritually free to be used by the Lord. The sound doctrine of Scripture drives the uncleanness out of our lives and thoughts, and this can hurt while it frees us.

The people are all amazed. What they have now experienced is unique. They don’t know how to deal with this. They talk to each other about it, but they don’t come to the Lord. They also notice that He brings a doctrine that is completely new. They see a big difference between what they have heard so far from their scribes and what they now hear from the Lord Jesus. Their questions are based on the authority of His word and its decisive effect on unclean spirits. At the same time, it makes it clear how hardened man’s conscience is. In fact, it merely remains with astonishment and questions.

The miracles of the Lord are not only a sign and proof of power, but also of goodness acting in Divine might. All His works are the fruit of love and witnesses of God’s love on earth. Their acceptance means the establishment of the kingdom in the hearts of men.

Both His words and His works bear witness to the authority with which He teaches the people. With us it should also be the case that the words we speak are supported by our works. If this is not so, or even worse, if our works contradict our words, our ministry is weak or in vain.

The news of this miraculous performance quickly circulates throughout the whole environment. It is the talk of the day.

Healing of Peter’s Mother-In-Law

The Lord Jesus, having taught in the synagogue, goes with Simon and Andrew to their house. Although His natural place is the bosom and home of the Father, He is not ashamed to stay with His poor disciples. He glorified God in public in the synagogue and now He does so in private. The four disciples keep the Sabbath, but can it be kept more appropriate than in the presence and company of the Son of God? It is beautiful to be in the meeting of the church with the Lord and it is also beautiful if He can come with us when we go home after the meeting.

Just as in the synagogue His power of deliverance was needed for a possessed person, so it is also needed in the house of Peter and Andrew. Fever isn’t the same as being possessed by an unclean spirit. Nor is it a picture of opposition to the Lord as the demons express it. Fever is an unhealthy waste of strength. It is a picture of restlessness, of a nervousness caused by sin that makes a person unfit for service.

The family makes its need known to the Lord. They speak to Him “about her”. They do so “immediately” and do not postpone it. He listens, He is accessible to everyone. This is the atmosphere of the house, where there is peace and confidentiality.

When the need has been brought to Him, He goes to work. Our prayer puts Him to work. He has personal contact with the suffering man. He did not do this with the possessed (Mk 1:25), but He does it here and with the leper (Mk 1:41), and also with the blind man (Jn 9:6), the dumb man (Mk 7:33), Malchus, of whom an ear has been cut off (Lk 22:51; Jn 18:10), the coffin with a dead man on it (Lk 7:14) and the disciples on the mountain of transfiguration (Mt 17:7). The hand of the Almighty is laid upon the weakness of man. He is a God Who is near and not far away. Not only do demons disappear, but sickness also does not stand where He enters. After amazement in the synagogue there is joy in the house.

As said, fever causes unrest. Fever is also a waste of energy. There is a lot of activity, but no result at all. The hand is powerless for the service. The Lord takes that hand and raises up the woman. He takes away the restlessness and makes her fit to serve again. After the disappearance of the fever a recovery period is not necessary, the healing is immediate and total. The woman can immediately resume her normal household duties and serve the Lord and His disciples.

Many Healed

It is evening of a day that is typical of the life of the Lord. He is engaged in His service in public and in the houses (cf. Acts 20:20). He teaches and heals and is there for all who call upon Him. Above all, He is focused on doing the will of God. He serves where service is needed, in whatever form.

When evening has come and the Sabbath is over, the first day of the week begins. A new period begins. Also in that new period we see Him as the One Who serves. No more individual cases come, but masses of all those in need come to Him and He works. Those who did not dare to come on the Sabbath are coming now. He is holding, as it were, a great reception. But for Him Who is more than Solomon, there is no queen of Sheba among these people.

Not only the needy come to Him, but also all who bring these needy. They are at the right place, for they are at the door of the house where He is present in blessing. After His service in the synagogue and the house there is also service in the city, in public and for everyone. He is Yahweh and is among His people as the One “Who heals all your diseases” (Psa 103:3).

While He is so busy, He does not allow the demons to speak. He never accepts the testimony of demons on earth. One day He will accept their testimony if, forced to do so, they will bow their knees and confess that He is Lord (Phil 2:10).

Preaching Throughout All Galilee

After a day of hard labor for the benefit of others until late in the evening, He sought the fellowship with His Father in the early morning of the next day (Isa 50:4-5). Only here is found the secret of strength and perseverance in the service. This contrasts with refusing and rejecting the testimony of the unclean spirit and the demons in Mk 1:25 and Mk 1:34. His power does not make Him independent. Much of our powerlessness finds its cause in the lack of prayer in silence. Although He is the Son of God, as a dependent Servant He seeks His strength with God in seclusion.

It seems that Peter and the others think that this time is actually lost, loss of valuable time that is not being used. They know that there are many who seek Him and now He is not present. They are full of zeal for the Lord, but see only the outer need of people and not the inner need of fellowship with the Father which is enjoyed in seclusion. His disciples also see in Him a King and want Him to make Himself known to others as such.

When they have found Him, they tell Him that all seek Him. As if that were a reason to return. For us as servants, it is a great danger if all seek us. But the Lord does not seek the open recognition. He does not seek people’s acclaim and applause. He must be where there is need, not honor. He only wants to do what He has been sent to do, and that is preaching. That is what He does. He speaks and acts with authority. Thus He proves that God is truly among them in goodness and grace. And wherever He speaks in the synagogues, He exposes the devil and casts out the demons. The casting out of unclean spirits and demons is part of His teaching with authority (Mk 1:22). It is simply the effect of what He says.

A Leper Healed

Someone who has an unclean spirit can keep it hidden. This spirit can express itself by shouting and make itself known that way, but he cannot be seen. Now someone comes to the Lord who is a leper. Leprosy is also a picture of uncleanness. This uncleanness, however, cannot be kept hidden, but is outwardly and perceptible to everyone.

Leprosy represents the sin of one’s own will that manifests itself. A leper is a picture of a sinner in whom man’s own will has broken out. We see this in Miriam (Num 12:10), Gehazi (2Kgs 5:27) and Uzziah (2Chr 26:19). Only God can cure a leper (2Kgs 5:7). This disease has two consequences. The first consequence is that the leper is removed from the service of God. The second consequence is that he defiles everyone who comes into contact with him.

But a leper can come to Christ. This leper has faith in the power that is in the Lord. He believes that He can make him clean, but he is not sure that He is willing to do it. That means he has no sense of the love of Christ. His thoughts about himself keep the greatness of love present in Christ hidden from him.

The Lord’s answer testifies of His power and His compassion. When the man has expressed his desire, the Lord does what would defile anyone else: He touches the leper. He is not thereby defiled. He has come so close to the unclean that He can touch him. The only Clean One among men approaches sin, with the result that He takes away what is the sign or its manifestation. It is His joy to take away leprosy.

The result immediately follows the expression of His will. The man is “immediately” cleansed of his leprosy. This is how it is always when God speaks. Here God speaks to man in blessing. “I am willing” denotes His majesty and also His love and compassion with the leper. Here He says it for the cleansing of a sinner from his sins. In John 17 He says again “I desire” or “I will” (Jn 17:24). There He says it with an eye to the future of all who belong to Him. He wants them to be with Him in the Father’s house.

Because He does not seek the honor of people, the man should not make a fuss about his healing. The Lord speaks sternly to him about this. As stern as He is about that, so mild is He in sending the man away into freedom. But the healed man still has to act according to the precept of the law. That’s why he must go to the priest.

The priest, in whom we see the representative of the law, cannot cleanse. He can do nothing but observe. Leviticus 13-14 describes in detail how he must act. The priest will be obliged to acknowledge the healing and bear witness that God is present in Christ in power and grace. The cleansing of the leper proves that He is God.

The Lord still recognizes the law and the institution of God with respect to cleansing. He commands the man to bring the prescribed offering. That offering speaks of the work He Himself will accomplish on the cross. After the offering, the cleansed leper can live his life in the service of the Lord.

In spite of the prohibition the man is going to proclaim it and make it known everywhere. He is therefore disobedient because the Lord had forbidden it. For us, however, giving our testimony is part of being saved (Rom 10:9-10).

For the Lord Jesus, people’s disobedience is only reason for withdrawal. There is hardly anything that interests and affects people more than a miraculous healing. The modern healing movements cause a lot of stir, despite the fact that they do not resemble the healings that Christ has performed. A lot of healers don’t shun the enthusiasm of the public either, but rather enjoy it.

Unlike these healers, the Lord seeks spiritual workings and not emotional affections. He is the dependent (praying), perfect (withdrawn), obedient (preaching) Servant. Here He exchanges the city for unpopulated areas, where no one comes, although He is always open to the supplication of anyone in need.

© 2023 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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