Right here in the middle of the first chapter of Mark, we already know that Mark’s gospel will be one of action. We have scenes of Jesus at work. And it crushes our expectations.
We start this section with Jesus calling his disciples: “Follow me,” Jesus says to them, “and I will make you become fishers of men.” When we hear that, we are prone to think – what does it mean to follow Jesus? What actions do we take? What do we have to do, to become fishers of men? And we are off to the races of self-based religion.
But Mark’s focus is actually on something quite different, seen in the strong affirmation Jesus makes: “I will make you become.” Does Jesus have the ability to make you become who he wants you to be? Is Jesus just hoping that you fulfill what he wants of you, or does he create what he wants?
This becomes the focus of even this early chapter in Mark. We see this emphasis in what happens in the rest of the text.
Because the next paragraph has an interaction of Jesus and a demon-possessed man. Jesus says these simple words: “Be silent” and “come out of him.” There’s no intricate interaction, nor any real action on the part of the man possessed. But there is an immediate response. The demon leaves the man. The man is saved. Rescued by the power of Jesus.
With no letup, Jesus presses on. He goes and heals Simon’s mother-in-law. He heals many more.
And finally at the end of the chapter he interacts with a leper. Diseased, outcast, not able to be touched by anyone lest they become unclean like he is. Jesus says – “I will that you be healed. Be clean.” And with his touch the leper is immediately healed. No prior qualification, no acts of contrition, no promise of post-cleaning devotion.
What’s the point, in this beginning of the gospel? This: Jesus has the authority to heal. To rescue. To cleanse. Our eyes need to remain on Jesus, not on ourselves. Life isn’t about getting the right steps to be healed, but on the heart of Jesus to find the lost, to heal and rescue.
Forgiveness and cleansing come by his power and by his heart. You can trust him. Relentless, is this Jesus.