Mark 1:29-34, 40-44 “The Great Physician”

Posted on September 2, 2008. Filed under: The Gospel of Mark |

Tuesday, September 2, 2008– Here is the next set of notes from my sermon series on Mark’s Gospel from about 9 years ago. This is a Sunday night sermon so the notes are hurriedly written.

Mark 1:29-34, 40-44 “The Great Physician”

Sunday August 22, 1999 PM





I. Peter’s Home

II. Turn to Christ in Your Need

III. The Perfect Cure

IV. Ministering to the Crowds




Introduction: Throughout the centuries the Church has had a reputation of ministering to the sick, destitute, and hopeless. In the last 100 years this has gotten confused as Christianity has so influenced Western Governments and political theory that now Big Government tends to take care of the sick and mentally ill, the homeless and helpless. Incredible wealth and insurance takes care of most people now with the modern medical establishment. Critics and skeptics cast doubt on the healings of Jesus and on miracles in general. What does a text like this have for us in our modern day?

            In this passage we see Jesus exercise his authority over disease and demons, we see the compassion of Jesus, and we receive instruction in how we are to respond to Jesus and how the Church should minister to others.


I. Peter’s Home.

            Notice that Jesus and the small group of disciples left the synagogue and went home with Simon and Andrew. The synagogue services would be over and then they would have the big meal of the day. But imagine the slight embarrassment of Simon and Andrew when they came home with Jesus and James and John to find no meal, rather, Simon’s mother in law was quite ill with a fever in bed. Dr. Luke in his account, Lk4:38, mentions that it was a high fever.This is before the days of aspirin or antibiotics. Whatever the illness, it was potentially fatal in those days.

            Notice also that this is Simon’s mother-in-law, indicating that Simon was married. Look at I Corinthians 9:5 “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” This certainly calls into question the Roman Catholic doctrine of celibacy for priests. See also I Timothy 3:2″Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife…” Simon was married, this also shows some of the cost he paid for answering Jesus’ call to follow Him, he had to leave home and travel a lot, leaving his wife and family at home.


II. Turn To Christ In Your Need.

            After the dramatic exorcism in the synagogue service, and the many miracles over the past year of public ministry, Simon does not hesitate to tell Jesus about his ill mother-in-law. In their need they turned to Christ.

            See Gen.32:11; 2Kings 19:19; Psa. 55:22; John 11:3; Phil 4:6; 1Peter 5:7.

            Certainly we should not take this text to an illogical extreme and say that one should never seek professional medical help. Christ is our first resource, we seek him in prayer and in the Word first and always, but when we are sick we should also consult a doctor, when we need legal advice we seek an attorney, financial advice we go to a banker or broker. We consult professionals but we sift what they say through the Scriptures because sometimes professionals can give unbiblical, ungodly advice.

            We live in a world of sorrow upon sorrow; illness, earthquakes, hurricanes and tragedies abound. The needs and pains of this world should always be brought to our Lord. JC Ryle writes,” Let us be armed with a recipe against despair, before our troubles come. Let us know what to do when sickness, bereavement, cross, loss or disappointment breaks in upon us like an armed man. Let us do what they did in Simon’s house at Capernaum. Let us at once “tell Jesus” p.10 Mark, Crossway.


III. The Perfect Cure.

            Jesus takes her hand and helps her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. Notice that this was a cure that not only stopped the fever, rid her body of the virus or bacterial infection, but her energy was fully restored as well. There was no recuperation time, no need to rest; she went from being seriously ill to being whole and full of energy. Jesus does not effect partial cures. Currently in the charismatic circles of revival in Brownsville Fla. and Toronto, Canada the rage is that normal fillings in teeth are being replaced- not with whole teeth, healthy teeth, but with gold fillings. Something about this just does not ring true to Scripture, but I have not personally investigated these alleged miracles so I cannot be for sure. But in Scripture Jesus heals authoritatively and completely. He effects the perfect cure.

            Notice the heart of the woman healed, she immediately rises to serve her household and her Lord. Out of gratitude she serves.

            Here we see a picture of God’s grace to us when we are saved. Jesus heals our sin sick souls by his power. By his grace he heals us of our sin guilt, but he also gives us a new heart, a heart to serve, a heart to follow Jesus, to minister to others. To all who receive the Savior he gives the power to become the children of God. How tragic it would be to be forgiven our past sins but not changed, left in our sinful condition helpless to pursue Christ. The Christ who saves also empowers. This we see in the doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the comforter who abides with us never to leave. We receive a new heart and a constant companion who prompts us to obedience, giving us the desire to follow Christ, illuminating Scripture for us.


IV. Ministering To the Crowds.

            After the dramatic exorcism in the synagogue I am sure the word spread rapidly that Jesus could do amazing things. After the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law word probably spread again. Soon, at sunset, the Sabbath was over and the crowds began to make their way to the home of Simon. Probably late into the night the sick, injured, and demon possessed traveled as the word spread. So many folks came that they had to conduct the healing services in the street.

            Jesus faithfully ministered to the crowds even though they may have been seeking Him selfishly not in faith.


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