Continuing with Mark’s Gospel we come to another healing story. Or rather a set of healings. Here is Mark 1:29-39
Jesus Heals Many
29As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. 31So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and 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.
Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
I think there is a temptation to skip over these stories. Many Christians, and the vast majority of non-Christians, will read this as a metaphor for Jesus’ greatness. Others, will not really ponder very long on whether they think Jesus could make a sick person well, and finally, most Christians will simply accept it as a given that Jesus how power to affect the physical world that others do not–perhaps because of their lack of faith.
A couple things that should give us pause for any of these positions. First, the healing is not by itself evidence that Jesus was the Son of God. Lots of people healed. Healers were all over the place. Second, remember that Mark was writing a generation and half, at least, after these events took place. Mark is the first Gospel, but the author wasn’t a newspaper reporter. He put these stories, in this order for a purpose. (Although, my father-in-law reports that the Greek is absolutely atrocious. Literally like reading a book report by a fourth grader.) Third, and this is the reason for the question mark, it turns out that the story says Jesus retired to the deserts in Galilee. Helpful translators have recognized that there are no deserts in Galilee and “corrected” it to “lonely places.” As the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary points out, this destroys the parallel between baptism and temptation, (crowd-desert).
So: What does this story tell us about the nature of Jesus? What was his Myers Brigs designation? I’m an ENTJ.