Short Meditations in Mark’s Gospel: 112. The Kingdom Comes
Mk 6:12,13 They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Near the beginning of Mark’s Gospel we read, “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:14,15). That encapsulated the message of Jesus, that the rule of God was about to be revealed so now was a time to cast off disbelief and do a one hundred and eighty degree turn about and believe that God’s goodness was there for them. The rule of God must surely be expressed by darkness being pushed back and the light and love and goodness of God revealed in what happens. To talk about God’s rule is to talk about things happening, God delivering people from Sin and the fruits of Sin.
So it is that the apostles now go out and do exactly the same as Jesus had been doing. First of all they called people to repentance. People needed to turn away from their sin of unbelief and actively believe in the love and goodness of God that was there to restore them to genuinely be the people of God, not just in word, but in reality. We cannot become the people of God (Christians) without repentance. As we noted above it means a one hundred and eighty degree turn in our thinking, in our believing, in our attitudes and in our action. It is a turning away from self and sin and unbelief and a turning to God and to His love and goodness.
But then they drove out many demons. It has always struck me that Israel must have been in a very bad spiritual state where the occult so often prevailed and so many lives had become dominated by evil spirits. Wherever they went, it seems, they came across those who were possessed and a mark of the coming of the reign of God was that those people were set free from the demonic in their lives. Satan’s minions represent the dominion of darkness and they have no place in the kingdom of light, the kingdom of the Son. Thus where they are encountered, they are cast out.
And then, finally, they healed all who came to them and were sick. Sickness was not part of the divine design at the beginning. Ultimately it is called by the breakdown in human life caused by Sin. Thus when anyone came to God through the preaching of the apostles, the way was made open for them to be healed. Hallelujah!