Reading Scripture: Mark 1: 29-34

Mark 1: 29-34

At the end of the previous paragraph, it discusses how news of Jesus’ authority spread throughout Galilee, which as we discussed is a rather large place, particularly without motorised travel. It seems likely that knowledge of Jesus spreading is meant to represent over a period of time, suggesting that this next section where we are turning now is likely before all of Galilee knew of him. Indeed, from the story, it likely contributes to his becoming known in the area.

It makes sense that Jesus and his four new disciples would go to one of the disciple’s houses. Jewish hospitality is well known, and if the son of a family offered it, the family would have felt obligated to oblige. Not that they weren’t happy to do so, simply discussing the culture of the time.

The mention that Simon’s mother-in-law was ill and healed by Jesus isn’t as interesting to me as the logical implication that Simon had a wife, and because there was no birth control, likely also children. We often don’t think of the disciple’s families. I have to wonder what they thought of Simon’s new leader.

It then mentions that after Sunset the people of Capernaum began gathering at the door and that all of the sick and demon-possessed were brought to Jesus to be healed or excised. This makes sense in light of the authority of Jesus presented at the Synagogue. I have to wonder, however, how many sick or demon-possessed there were in a town of 1500. It says he healed “many”, but many is a relative term. Perhaps 10? It also says the entire town gathered at the door. Once again, 1500 is a decent number of people. Not saying a giant crowd of a small town wouldn’t all come together to see the healings, just find it interesting to think about.

Most of this tale seems explanatory, and not particularly full of difficult or intriguing notions until one gets to the final verse. Jesus would not let the demons speak, “because they knew him.”

There are a few debates on why this might be. Some suggest it was because Jesus didn’t want the demon’s words to influence the people. Others suggest that the demon’s titles for Jesus were too revealing of his mission on earth, and he simply didn’t want such motivations to be known. Thus far, the only title revealed that the demons used was Holy One of God, which doesn’t seem particularly political or revealing other than a possible suggestion that he was the prophesied Messiah that certain sects of Jews had been waiting for.

Also, Jesus had a difficult time silencing the last demon. I have to wonder if he was silencing them simply as practice. A more humorous side of the silencing “because they knew him,” could be that they might reveal embarrassing facts about him. “Did you know his mother got pregnant before she was married!?” “He wet his bed until he was 7!” “He picks his nose when you’re not looking!”

In the end, doesn’t really seem important, but can be fun to think about. What do you all think?

Until next time, grace and peace to you all.

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