Our expectations of Jesus coming out of the opening to Mark's Gospel were pretty high - and as we move towards the end of chapter 1 and into chapter 2, we certainly aren't disappointed!
We soon discover that this king has incredible authority—the likes of which has never been seen before (1:22, 28, 37, 45, 2:12).
First we see the authority in Jesus words and teaching - even over unclean spirits, who are subject to his commands (2:21-28). Next we see Jesus' authority over sickness (2:29-34), resulting in an entire city gathering to him within a day!
But then, in the midst of a wave of excitement, Jesus does something very strange - He withdraws to pray, and tells us that, rather than focusing on healing, His priority is to preach (2:35-39).
The next two episodes give us a hint at why that might be.
In 1:40-45 we see Jesus cleansing a leper—leprosy being symbolic of the effects of sin. By this act, the cleansed leper, who had been separated from God's people, is able to return to God's people.
Finally, we see Jesus' authority over sin. Again, Jesus takes us by surprise as rather than immediately healing the paralytic physically (which is what he and his friends were no doubt expecting!) He claims to forgive his sin. Clearly forgiveness of sin is the greater priority in Jesus' eyes. The scribes point out that, since sin is an offence against God, only God should be able to forgive it. But in subsequently healing the paralytic physically, Jesus proves that He is indeed able to forgive sin - which of course, means He must be God! (2:1-12).
In light of all this, can you think why the response of the fishermen, leaving their whole livelihood and their family, makes sense?
Questions for application
- What things stop us from being amazed by Jesus?
- How might understanding this passage influence our prayer life? In what way does it give us confidence? In what ways should Jesus' priorities shape what we pray for?
- How does this passage persuade us to act like the fishermen, dropping everything to follow Jesus? What might it look like for us to do that personally?