The news about him spread through the whole of Syria; and the people brought all their sick to him, and all those who suffered: the possessed, the deranged, the paralyzed; and he healed them all. Large crowds followed him from Galilee and the Ten Cities, from Jerusalem, Judea, and from across the Jordan.
“The kingdom of heaven is near.”
The arrest of John the Baptist marks a significant turn in the gospel “plot.” For Jesus, this marks the signal to begin his own ministry, while also fore shadowing the ultimate price he will pay. Understandably, he is moved to withdraw “into Galilee,” perhaps to discern his next steps. Those who arrested John had hoped they were silencing his proclamation. But they soon learn their mistake, when Jesus steps forward to repeat the very words from John’s lips: “Change your ways: the kingdom of heaven is near.”But if there is continuity with John’s mission, there is also something new. If John delivered a message of coming judgment, Jesus’ proclamation is tempered by works of mercy and compassion: not only the sick, but “the possessed, the deranged, the paralyzed” are healed. In “curing all kinds of sickness and disease” Jesus is advancing far beyond John’s message; the “kingdom of heaven” is not simply “near” but is actually breaking forth in Jesus’ words and deeds.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019