Blog #3: WHY HEALING BY EXORCISM WAS CENTRAL TO JESUS’ MISSION AND MINISTRY
John I. Penn, D.Min.
January 25, 2022
It is noteworthy that Mark begins his account of Jesus' public kingdom work with the healing of a man possessed by an unclean spirit. It is also significant that this healing occurred in the synagogue on the sabbath. The theme of exorcism was a central part of the ministry of Jesus, according to Mark's gospel. Healing by exorcism was calculated and essential to God's kingdom in several ways.
First, exorcism was central to the kingdom work of Jesus. Healing defined his divine mission as the Messiah of God. Second, healing was a sign that the kingdom of God had broken into human history. Third, the exorcisms showed the continuous conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Fourth, Mark interpreted healing and salvation as being inseparable. Biblically and theologically, they represented the two sides of the same coin. Fifth, the healing miracles demonstrated that Satan's kingdom is no match against the kingdom of God. Sixth, Mark emphasized that healing would be central to the kingdom work of Jesus and the church, the body of Christ. And seventh, the gospel of Mark demonstrated that Jesus healed the whole person. It is essential to understand that Jesus treated exorcism as more cure than a punishment.
Most importantly, exorcism points us to an age-old conflict between God and Satan that goes back to the creation story and the fall of humanity. When the serpent questioned God's sovereignty and tempted Eve to disobey God's warning, which she did, sin was introduced into God's good creation. Sin has caused all creation to fall from the perfect order in which God had created it. God sent Jesus, the seed of woman, to restore God's perfect intent for creation. Therefore, Jesus' first public act of exorcism looked back to the fall of humanity and also looked forward to the cross, when God's perfect state of creation would be restored, which looks toward a glorious future. It is important to remember that originally, creation was void of sin, sickness, and death. All sin, sickness, and death will be prohibited in the new divine order of creation.
The apostle Paul foresaw a future where all human brokenness, including creation, would be restored to a glorious future:
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope, we were saved. (Rom. 8:19-24.)
Without understanding this biblical interpretation, healing will always have a secondary role in the church's life, mission, and ministry. Jesus gave healing a prominent place and role in the kingdom work of God.
Everyone who registers on my website (below) or purchases Miracles of Healing in the Gospel of Mark will receive a 20% discount on both the book and the Leader's Guide. At the checkout, use the CODE: GUIDE.
Next week, you will have an opportunity to read an excerpt from Healing Moment two, God’s Amazing Healing Grace To purchase my books, go to: https://www.my-book-store.com/. Until next week, Happy reading!