Jesus traveled all over Galilee “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” and healing “every affliction.” Beginning with “His own city” of Capernaum, the Lord responded to the simple faith of those trusting in Him by working wonders. Some rejected Christ and attributed the power they observed to an evil source. “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
Wherever the Messiah went many were stuck in disease, oppression, and sin. The “Son of David” healed them all. Enemies devoted to the prevailing tradition-driven, scribal Judaism increasingly hated the Man at the center of the message. They especially would not tolerate His simple words of absolution: “Take heart, My son, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus’ works of physical restoration were signs of His authority over everything. He insisted that the “Son of Man” was able to free men and women from the dungeon of their offenses against the Law of God. The crowds loved what they saw and heard, but the Pharisees accused Him of blaspheming.
Meanwhile Jesus was meeting new friends and disciples among “tax collectors and sinners.” He made God’s mercy real to those who knew they were spiritually “sick” and in need of a “physician.” Others who imagined that they were doing “well” without a Savior could not abide with His violation of religious norms. For instance, our Lord’s disciples did not fast. His explanation? “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?”
We who follow Jesus today are still called to a life of faith and joy. “The harvest is plentiful” and we are “laborers” in God’s vineyard. We go to “cities and villages” near and far, teaching about the King and His kingdom. People hear the message of forgiveness as we shower the world with the practical evidence of the mercy of God.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O God, grant us faith for those in need all around us. Why should men and women everywhere not rise and walk? Your Son has come and is still calling all kinds of people to follow Him. We are those who are sick, and You are the most powerful doctor. We rejoice in the presence of Your Son, but we long for His return. We have already received much grace, and we taste the blessings of heaven even now. Nonetheless, we cannot be satisfied without the full arrival of the age of resurrection. We believe that You are able to do this. Open our eyes and give us the words to speak that we might rightly live out the good news of the kingdom. Send forth laborers into Your harvest field. May many captives of sin and death be freed by Your gospel.