Explore the Bible
with Becky Brown
Sunday, March 24
To “restore” means to set in order, to re-establish, to cure, to return. In our study this week, Jesus displays His power over creation, demons, disease and death. His brand new disciples are getting the Gospel of Mark version of a crash course in what it means to follow Jesus, the One Who calls, forgives, unites and restores.
So far in the Gospel according to John Mark, we have seen Jesus as the One Who pleased His Father by submitting Himself to baptism. He was the Temptation Defeater in the wilderness. He was the Disciple Caller and Commissioner. He reigned as the unclean spirit Revealer and Dispeller. He was the Sea Side Preacher and the Gospel Seed Sower.
In the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, Jesus showed His control over the inner workings of the human body. The visible woundings of a leper were erased and cleansed with Jesus’ touch. The legs of a paralytic were made new. One man with a withered hand walked away restored. What a comforting word. Even in the saying of it, we find the declaration of it as fact.
Weary of the constant press of the crowds, Jesus led the Twelve on an evening sail across the Sea of Galilee. Several other boats were making the short eight-mile trip from the western shore to the eastern shore. Jesus simply took a nap as they sailed. The boat was suddenly engulfed by a large, loud, dangerous storm with wind swirling around them from all directions at once.
Caught between terror, trust, fear, and faith, they awakened Jesus as water began to swamp their boat. Jesus ordered the winds to “be muzzled.” The waves obeyed the winds which immediately obeyed the Wind Maker. Calm was restored on the sea. The Twelve were stunned at His power over nature.
Their greeting party on the eastern shore was a man who lived in the tombs. The demons that possessed him had stripped him of everything except his life. Jesus restored this man of the tombs to wholeness by sending the demons out of him and into a herd of 2,000 pigs. The pig farmers were obviously not happy. Surely their sail back across to Capernaum was dotted with floating swine while the restored tomb dweller returned home with a story to tell.
Back on the western shore, barely reaching the rocky, sandy beach, Jesus was met by a man named Jairus whose daughter was critically ill. Jairus had faith in the healing power of Jesus. Luke 8 tells us that the 12-year-old daughter was an only child. Jairus had rushed toward the only hope he knew. Jesus followed this desperate father homeward as the ever present crowd pressed in, joining their journey.
Their brisk walk was interrupted by a touch from a woman with a blood disease. After 12 long, grueling years of sickness, she was desperate for healing. She reached out and touched the hem of the garments of Jesus. Immediately, she was healed. Jesus stopped to see who had touched Him. The healed woman confessed her “crime” of having faith. She was completely restored.
Message bearers brought news that Jairus’ daughter had died. Jesus would have none of that story. He urged Jairus to replace his fear with belief as they kept walking. Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus and Jairus and the mother of the child into the house. Wailing and weeping were exchanged for derision when Jesus declared that the little girl was not dead, only asleep. At her bedside, Jesus took the little girl by the hand and told her to get up. She did. Then Jesus told them to make sure she had something to eat.
The demon-filled man of the tombs fell at the feet of Jesus. The father of the dying little girl fell at the feet of Jesus. The woman healed of the blood disease fell at the feet of Jesus twice, once to touch Him and once to tell her story. There is a pattern here. True restoration is found at the feet of Jesus alone.
Jesus came to earth with the express purpose of restoration. His mission was much bigger than physical healing or even raising people from physical death. He came to restore all of those who would believe to a relationship with His Father. His restoration was spiritual and eternal.
Brown is staff evangelist at First Church, Richland.