A Shocking Concession: Mark 1:36-39
“36) Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37) they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38) He *said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” 39) And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.” Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭36‬-‭39‬ ‭
Mark records one of the more surprising characteristics of the ministry of Jesus; He kept moving to new regions. He planted gospel seeds and moved on. He left people seeking Him. Some followed long distances to hear and see more of His ministry. He accumulated a huge following.
He was like a shepherd searching for lost sheep in Israel. There were many of them. They were everywhere. They were hearing His voice and following Him.
Verse 39 is most telling; “And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.” He encountered significant demonic activity even among people attending the synagogues. Demons seem to be attracted to religious activity. What a shocking concession!
It must be noted that these encounters were among Jewish people; one only wonders at the amount of demonic activity among Gentile populations? Why should we think things have changed today?
Are you ready to get stretched? Stop reading here if you are content with mundane Christianity or are satisfied with censured naturalistic Bible doctrine. What you are about to read my sound crazy, but it’s part of a basic biblical world view.
I don’t want to press this observation to far, but I suspect demonic activity is far more common today than people realize. Much of what we run to doctors and therapists for might be rooted in the demonic.
A tell tail sign is the fact that many medications treat symptoms but fail to result in cures. The root problem is not being addressed.
A contributing factor is the negative stigma attached to demonic discussions within many western churches. They mostly deny their existence!
Unless the problems are serious and accompanied with obvious phenomena like evil or violent nightmares, hearing voices or paranormal activity, we assume symptoms are rooted in natural causes… and most churches have no help or hope for tormented people.
But Jesus and the early church took the opposite approach. They tested for a spiritual cause first and then the physical. The result was that Jesus dealt with many unclean spirits. He set captives free. Lives were transformed. Sinful compulsions ended. In the process, many were healed of physical symptoms caused by unclean spirits.
Time out… we have a health care crisis in the United States today that is out of control. In many states it is consuming 40% or more of the state budgets… and it’s not getting better. That doesn’t include the additional costs to the federal budget. Could it be that much of the our physical and mental heath care issues are rooted in spiritual problems?
Jesus often talked about the need for forgiveness. Many doctors tell me if people could let go of anger and bitterness their immune systems would drastically improve.
Ironically, the Bible teaches that anger and bitterness gives Satan a foothold in people. (See Ephesians 4:26-27; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11) Surprise, we just diagnosed a spiritual cause to many physical problems. The Bible makes many connections of sinful issues resulting in physical and mental problems.
Unclean spirit are opportunistic. They take advantage of spiritual compromise and dysfunction. They run interference with God, the gospel and the Holy Spirit. That’s why in His ministry, Jesus preached the gospel hand in hand with healings and dealing with unclean (opportunistic) spirits.
The modern western church has lost sight of the reality of the spiritual realm influencing physical health. It has actually pushed the pendulum in the opposite direction to where it denies the spiritual realm completely beyond basic salvation. It quickly refers all physical and mental problems to the secular professionals in medical fields.
But here is the hidden problem; beyond basic treatments related to germs, bacteria, viruses or injuries, the medical community is not curing people. It is leaving them hopelessly addicted to prescription drugs which carry serious side affects. This feeds the spiral into deeper medical complications.
When I served in the Iowa Legislature, we simply referred to this as the “Health Care Crisis” which was crippling our state budget. This may sound simplistic, but you cannot solve spiritual problems with physical cures.
The Bible describes the resulting phenomenon in Mark 5:25-29; “A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.”
Wow! That’s incredible! What happened in this story?
It unpacks the basic principle that you cannot treat spiritual problems with physical cures! Opportunistic (unclean) spirits are often part of the spiritual problem. The reason Jesus and His disciples were so effective with healing ministry was that they treated spiritual problems with spiritual solutions.
It included standing in the authority of Jesus Christ. But here is a big secret; “You can treat physical problems with spiritual solutions… if you understand who Jesus Christ really is!” Because He is King of kings and Lord of lords, He has dominion over the whole realm of creation.
Here is the irony, this is not an evangelical or Pentecostal perspective… it is a basic biblical principle. This represents the biblical world view that undergirded the ministry of Jesus Christ and the early church. It is for all believer despite denominational affiliation.
But it is ignored or discredited by the Western Church as a whole. We opt for a humanistic and naturalistic world view… and we are getting corresponding results in our churches.
I don’t want to leave you hanging, but I am extremely confident that our continued study of the Gospel of Mark will be very eye opening. After all, we are still in the first chapter!
Caution: Avoid the Bible at all costs if you are content with a “Christian” naturalistic world view!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global