"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Jesus' Ministry Begins
Mark 1:21-45 Commentary
by Raj Nadella
After John’s imprisonment, Jesus inherits his mantle and promptly announces the arrival of God’s kingdom.
He recruits his first disciples and goes on a healing spree. Jesus casts out an impure spirit in the synagogue and heals many who were demon-possessed. Within the larger narrative context in Mark, as well as in Matthew and Luke, healings and exorcisms are visible manifestation of the kingdom of God.
In this text, as in many other stories in the synoptic gospels, healing miracles benefit individuals with little power. Jesus uses his power to disrupt and attenuate demonic powers that have robbed the powerless of their dignity and denied them full participation in the society. His power is consistently placed in service of margins. The newly inaugurated kingdom operates at the individual level as much it does at the cosmic level suggesting that the individual is as important as the cosmic.
While Jesus heals many in this text, the only one who seeks him out initially is the leper. Jesus stretches out his hand and touches him. The physical aspect of this healing aside, its social aspect is ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 390: Jesus' Ministry Begins
January 05, 2020
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for Jan.5, 2020, (Jesus' Ministry Begins) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.