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Daily Bible Readings

By the Sea of Galilee and the Ohio River

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

[7] Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea [8] and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. [9] And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, [10] for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. [11] And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” [12] And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

Mark 3:7–12 ESV Read More

Jesus’ influence is growing. Word is spreading all around the region and people are coming from all over to get healed of their various diseases. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t want to be around them or heal them, but that He wants to talk to them. Jesus doesn’t want to become the center of a traveling healing circus, He wants to be the center of their lives. 

The evil spirits that come are the most orthodox in the entire mob, but their motives are off even more. Seeking to cause confusion and difficulty, they are trying to start up controversy by taking advantage of people’s tendency to misunderstand things. Nobody in that crowd is ready to grasp the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. If the Pharisees hear that, they call it blasphemy because that is saying Jesus is equal to God. 

All of this stuff is still present today in more subtle forms. It is far too easy to lose sight of Jesus, the author and giver of life, for the sake of the circus. Activities, events, accomplishments are all good things, just like healing and exorcisms, but none of them should ever hold the position that Jesus holds. All of these things are for Him and to Him. Talk to any worship leader and you’ll quickly learn that behind the desire to sound great and nail the hard notes is a love and passion for Jesus that brings about that expression. Jesus loved to heal and deliver people from evil, but it was secondary to bringing the Kingdom of God into their lives. Ask any good children’s ministry worker and you’ll find the same thing. Tight administration and a smooth program are awesome, but ministering the truth and love of Jesus Christ to a bunch of kids is tops. 

As far as the truth of the demons actually causing problems, this slips in when we make up problems that people didn’t have in the first place. One time early in my walk with the Lord I read a verse in a conversation with an older believer. I made some comment about it and they replied: “So you’re an a-millennial post-cessational evolutionist!” As they explained to me what that meant, it only served to divide me from the other people at the Bible study because of very minor details in how we interpreted scripture. (I TOTALLY just made up that phrase, by the way. I forget what they called me, but it was close to that sort of thing.) I don’t think I ever got the scripture explained to me because people were so busy nailing down the truth of what category I fit into. 

If we care more about getting the truth out than we care about how people will understand it and receive it, we’re doing what those demon-possessed people are doing. Of course, we know that God hates greed, but if that’s my greeting to everyone at the mall, the kingdom of God isn’t likely to light up in their hearts. 

So here is Jesus, gaining fame and reaching as many people as He can, inside of us! He doesn’t change from day to day, but the generations His Spirit dwells in grow from culture to culture and epoch to epoch. As we unleash His life in us, we’ll see these same things happen now as they happened then in our own cultural context. 

He loves it, and He wants to show it all off from cubicles to day-care centers to the riverfront today. 

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Tags: gospel, miracles, mission, preaching, teaching

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