Today begins our journey with Mark 1. Here the writer, presumably named Mark starts out a little different than other Gospel writers. Mark entrust the information of genealogies to the fellow writers of Matthew and Luke, along with the more detailed events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Mark jumps right in with the account of John the Baptist and right into the ministry of Jesus. Unlike the Gospel of John, Mark has Jesus first public ministry act as an exorcism.
Jesus calls the first disciples away from their fishing boats and into the training of Jesus. Directly from there Jesus is found teaching in the synagogue where he casts out demons, and heals many. Right out of the gate we find Jesus engaged in supernatural healing. From the moment the first disciples left their nets they were front row witnesses to the work of Jesus. Exorcisms and healings were the primary order of business. Out of this, the word about Jesus spreads quickly, even though Jesus warns people to not tell.
I have always been taken back by Jesus instructions to not tell people about what has happened. We will find throughout Mark there is the same warning. Along with others I have wondered if Jesus was telling them to keep quiet for their own and his safety. That does not seem consistent with who Jesus is and the places and situations he calls his followers to. Perhaps it is all about timing. Often missed in all of scripture is the importance of timing, more specifically God's timetable. Jesus would know better than anyone the timetable of God for the full realization of Jesus as Messiah. In all of Mark 1 timing matters. The coming of John the Baptist was part of specific timing about the arrival of Messiah. The temptation of Jesus, we know from other Gospels to be 40 days and nights, important timing. Jesus taking time in the early morning to connect with the One who sent him, timing, timing, timing.
By the time we finish reading Mark 1 we see the ministry of Jesus is set in motion, and the miraculous is the order of business. For Mark the primary way Jesus reveals is through the healings and exorcisms. These might not seem like a common occurrence in our lives and church, and we might think Jesus does not work that way anymore. The truth is Jesus is longing to work in our lives everyday in small ways and in the miraculous. We do not always see it because often we do not believe it to be possible, or we try to control the way God works. God has sent the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Jesus in our time, are we willing and ready?