C The Ministry of the Perfect Man in Galilee
5v1-11 Jesus calls His first disciples
1: And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2: And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3: And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4: Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5: And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6: And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7: And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8: When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9: For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11: And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
5v12-16 Jesus cleanses a Leper
12: And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13: And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14: And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15: But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16: And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
Christ uses the facility of a small ship as a pulpit in which to address the huge crowds on the shoreline. (An interesting strategy that could be easily adopted today). Then when he had finished speaking he told Peter to launch out into the deep and let down the net. Peter confessed that they had worked all night and caught nothing however At Christ’s word he would obey. And so we see the hopelessness of Human effort and the superabundance of the power of the Holy Spirit. Why did the net brake? Well, it was just not big enough! God has got so much more to do through us than we can imagine. Even our dreams aren’t big enough to contain all of Gods blessing. Simon was astonished at the drought of fish and he fell down and confessed his sin. Christ simply said, don’t be afraid, Peter because from now on you will catch men. When they had brought everything to the shore they forsook it all to follow Christ. The Lord could not only preach in the power of the Holy Spirit he could also do wonders in the same power. The very next miracle that Mark records is the one which would ignite the ministry of Christ and bring it to the attention of every scribe and religious leader in the whole of Israel. Christ is met by a leper. There had never been a case of the healing of a leper in Israel, yet the Law dedicated two chapters to the ritual associated with the formal recognition of cleansing of a leper. The Religious leaders had long known that only Israel’s Messiah would be able to cleanse lepers. So in the narrative this leper approaches Christ and says Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. So where did he get this confidence from? And how did he know that Christ could heal him? Obviously he knew by divine revelation. Lepers were kept separate from the population and anyone who came into physical contact with a leper was ceremonially unclean before God. So how does Christ heal him? He touches him. This was the human touch. This was the touch of compassion. And instead of Christ becoming unclean! The leper becomes clean. Then Christ told him to go to the high priest and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded. So he went to Caiaphas to request examination and sacrifice as a testimony they them of his cleansing. This was a very clear signal to the Religious authorities that Jesus was a contender to the office of Messiah. The religious leaders gathered to investigate this healers claims and they came for a ten day investigation in which they would listen to his words and then report back to the Chief Priest what they have heard. The news that a possible Messiah had arisen in Israel caused a very great stir.