Mark 1:21-45 – Five Healing Stories Inaugurate Jesus’ Ministry


Mark 1:21-45


In these five healing stories, the evangelist identifies the battle that Jesus will face throughout his ministry, encountering the power of unclean spirits and demon possession.


The first story in this cluster of healings takes place in the synagogue at Capernaum and raises the question of Jesus’ authority (1:21-28). The unclean spirit knows immediately who Jesus is and what he has come to do: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit: “Be silent, and come out of him!” The healing of Simon’s mother-in-law (1:29-31) and the healing at evening of all who were sick or possessed with demons (1:32-34) lead Jesus to retreat to a lonely place from which he later returns to Galilee again to preach and cast out demons (1:35-39). Jesus’ cleansing of a leper brings this series of healings to conclusion as he instructs the leper to show himself to the priest for his cleansing. The cleansed man instead talks freely of his cleansing so that Jesus can no longer openly enter towns, and people come to him (1:40-45).