Over the last few weeks, I have had a pretty rough time with various things, so I have decided to take a look at one of the gospels. I felt that I needed a bit of grounding, but I would also like to see the ‘summary version’, so I am taking a look through the book of Mark. Join me as I look through the book, starting today with the first chapter. Read Mark 1, and then take a look at my thoughts below.
The first chapter of Mark really struck me, as it seems to work differently to how most people’s ministries work. Let’s take a look at the order of things for Jesus, and see if it matches up with ours. Firstly Jesus was baptised, and then satan was on His case, trying to tempt Him away. You see satan knew what Jesus was about to do, he knew who Jesus was. Before Jesus could really do anything, satan was trying to stop Him. Is satan on your case? I don’t want to focus too much in what the devil does, but if he is not interested in you, are you really a threat to him? Don’t focus too much on the enemy, but if he does come after you, see how Jesus dealt with him.
The next thing that Jesus did, was to get some disciples. We often think that we can go on our own, and that we don’t need to surround ourselves with other believers, but that is just not true. We need to have people that we can turn to, who keep us in line, and encourage us. Even Jesus surrounded Himself with people. Let’s make sure that we do the same. When we see what Jesus gets up to next, we realise why we need the support. It is this next section that really surprised me, as we often expect to ease gently into ministry. People often tell us to start small, don’t worry about casting out demons and healing people, start off gently. This is not what Jesus did. He started off in the deep end, where most of us only dream of getting to one day. Jesus started where most of us are too afraid to finish. Is this maybe why we don’t see the results that we know are possible?
Casting out demons. Have you ever actually done this? This was the first thing that Jesus did. Now I realise that you need to know how to do things like this, before doing them, but we do need to do them, so why don’t we figure out how to do this? I often hear people saying that demons do exist, but we don’t need to worry about them. I agree that we don’t need to worry about them, but we do need to deal with them. Ignoring them is not the example that Jesus set. He acknowledged them, then rebuked them, and set people free from their hold. This is what we need to do. It doesn’t need to be a big song and dance, or weeks of deliverance, but it needs to be done. I have been a Christian for a long time, and have cast out a few demons (in other believers), and I still find spiritual strongholds in my own life that I need to break. Demonic activity is not just limited to satanists and witches, we can all be affected by demons, and we need to know how to come against it. Do we have sleepless nights worrying about them? No. When the Holy Spirit reveals these strongholds, acknowledge it, rebuke it, and make the decision to walk in the freedom that Christ died for.
There is another reason why I believe that Jesus started His ministry with a bang. Do you find that people don’t take Christianity seriously? Do you ever find that people misunderstand Christianity? What do you think would happen if you told people about the kingdom of God, right after you healed someone or cast out a demon? You see Jesus did these things and people saw it. This was shocking to the Pharisees and the people. Jesus made an impression. They realised the authority immediately, and so everything that Jesus said after that, was said in authority. We often have a too subtle approach, which means that people don’t take us seriously. No-one underestimated Jesus after they saw what He did, they may not have liked Him, but they didn’t underestimate Him. We tend to make excuses as to why we don’t do these kind of ministries, but Jesus started off with them. Maybe this why people took Jesus seriously, and maybe why they don’t listen to us. Yes, we need to learn how to do these things. Yes, we need to be sensitive, but we can’t use these as excuses not to do these ministries.
What are your views on casting out demons and healing? Are they ministries that you do, or do you see them as unnecessary? If you have never done them, are you following Jesus’ example? I’ll leave you to decide.
Until next week.