Cover to Cover
In verses 29-31, Mark wrote about Peter’s mother-in-law’s healing, writing that her fever “immediately” left her. Mark used the word “immediately” forty-two times in his book, more than all the New Testament combined. Her healing was instantaneous and complete! She was sick one moment and fully healed the next, getting up and serving her guests!
Mark also writes about healing after the Sabbath sunset, preaching in Galilee, and the cleansing of a leper. Mark wrote the leprosy “immediately” left the man.
Try to notice the word “Immediately” as we read through the rest of Mark.
The Lord gives instruction to Moses concerning care of the tabernacle lamps, the bread of the tabernacle, penalty for blasphemies, the sabbath of the seventh year, the year of jubilee, provisions for the seventh year, redemption of property, lending to the poor, law concerning slavery.
In chapter 24, an Israelite woman’s son with an Egyptian father blasphemed the Lord. I imagine the mention of the Egyptian father was an indicator of influence of other religions. The Lord had not given a law on blasphemy yet, so the people put the blasphemer in custody until they heard from the Lord. God told them to execute the man through stoning. This was also a lesson to people that no one was to blaspheme the Lord.
In chapter 25:8, we read about the year of Jubilee, the year after 7 years times 7 (49 years). In a Jubilee year, debts were forgiven and slaves went free. It was a year of liberty, freedom! Isaiah 61:2 is a Scripture that references Leviticus 25:10 about proclaiming liberty to the captives. Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:2 in Luke 4:19 when He mentions proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord. The Jubilee was a foreshadow of Christ, the Messiah, coming to bring liberty.
The last verse of chapter 25 says, “For the children of Israel are servants to Me, they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” This verse is possessive, God taking ownership of Israel. Being a servant to Egypt is much different than being a servant to God, inasmuch as being a slave to sin is much different from being a slave to righteousness (See Romans 6). When we are serving righteousness, the blessings of the life of God is ours. This verse helps a person with a slave mentality to recognize they have been redeemed, or delivered from a cruel taskmaster.
Being called a servant or a slave can be difficult for some to take in, especially when just a few generations ago in my country, people from Africa were brought over to be slaves. Even after they were freed, they were treated with disrespect. Even today, it is bothersome to all races when we see racism in our country. God is not a racist. God was using something people were familiar with in order to help them see a spiritual principle of liberty.
A servant is not the only reference God gives to Israel in the Old Testament. He also uses the words sons and children. In Isaiah and Hosea, God refers to Himself as Israel’s husband. He also refers to Himself as a shepherd, a vinedresser, a king, a judge, and many other illustrations, using what we understanding to help us understand Him.