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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1/19/10- Mark 1:21-29- Miracles and Gratitude

1/19/10- Mark 1:21-39- Ministry in Capernaum

21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil [a] spirit cried out, 24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" 25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. 29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. 32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out any demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" 38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Calvin abridged: In this miracle Christ gives his disciples an illustration of his grace. The healing of Simon’s mother-in-law of a great fever was proof of his divine power. At a single touch he removed a powerful and horrible disease. He might have done it by simply willing it, but he touched her hand to make his affection or to use an outward sign of his power for his disciples to see.

Thoughts: Today you can go to Capernaum off of the Sea of Galilee. It is clearly marked, and the ruins of the synagogue in which Jesus spoke are visible (Mk 1:21). Archaeologists have identified a large house that has traditionally been labeled Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. The Roman Catholics built a huge church hovering over the ruins in an effort to preserve it from further damage (picture above). Capernaum appears to be the place where Jesus did many miracles (Lk. 4:23). While the people there accepted the miracles Jesus did, they did not combine them with faith- but after the miracles rejected the messiah (see Mt. 11:22-24 below). It is a dangerous thing to be blessed by God and not recognize his blessing. It is a dangerous thing for God’s hand to be at work on us and then reject that hand. To have God answer prayer so strongly and then not to acknowledge God is the height of ingratitude and takes away from God’s glory. If God has created us for his glory, and we are taking away from that glory, then we need to turn around. America today is in danger of ingratitude. God has blessed us- even now (compare our blessings to Haiti). Yet many are busy trying to explain God’s miracles and answered prayers away.

"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." (Mt. 11:21-24).

Today, if you go to Capernaum, Bethsaida, or Chorazin- there are literally wild animals there and ruins, a few signs and little else.  Mostly destroyed by earthquakes and deserted by people.

Prayer: Let me live a grateful life to you today, O Lord. Help me to see and acknowledge your hand upon my life.

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