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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bent

Authority and Compassion (20-01-21)

Bible Readings: Mark 1:21-22, 29-34

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

A Reflection

This reading is from the start of Jesus ministry. John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, had been preparing the way for Jesus and is now in prison. Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee where he focusses on the fishing village of Capernaum and calls his first disciples, James, John, Simon (later to be known as Peter) and Andrew.

It is now the Sabbath and Jesus goes to the local synagogue where he amazes the people, both with his teaching and with his ability to heal a demon-possessed man (verses 23-28). The main character trait that Jesus shows in his teaching and his healing is one of authority.

Jesus then retires to the home of Simon Peter for a spot of lunch, and here we see another side to his character. Simon’s mother-in-law is in bed, sick with a fever, and Jesus responds with compassion, and without drama. He takes her by the hand and helps her up, healed and able to serve the family and guests.

Meanwhile Jesus’ reputation is spreading far and wide and by evening the whole town has gathered at Simon’s door with their sick and demon-possessed, hoping that Jesus would heal them. Now we see both compassion, as Jesus responds to the needs, and authority as he brings healing and deliverance.

There are many needs around us today, food banks and school meals are obvious examples, as are the needs of the lonely and housebound, those home-schooling and those working on the front line in this pandemic.

What are the situations around you where you could respond with both compassion and authority and make a difference to someone who is struggling?

Let us also be grateful for all those who have authority in our world and who exercise it with compassion, juggling the limited resources to meet the needs of the many.

A Prayer

Father God, open my eyes to the needs around me, and open my heart to respond as you would, with compassion and with authority.


With a prayer you fed the hungry.

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