7 February 2011

Mark 6:53-56

"And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed." (v. 56)


This week's theme is "Christ for All", and these few verses clearly demonstrate that. Jesus had left behind over 5,000 stunned but nevertheless satisfied people after the miraculous feeding on the other side of the lake (Mark 6:30-44). Shortly after this his disciples witness the even more amazing events during a storm in the night (Mark 6:47-52). And then he arrives in Gennesaret to be immediately greeted by crowds of people in need of his help. The fact that the people kept coming suggests that time and time again Jesus was indeed meeting their needs. Just imagine how his disciples' minds must have been spinning at what they were witnessing and being part of.

Whatever Mark's profession, he wasn't a geography teacher. Earlier in verse 45 Jesus' destination was said to be Bethsaida, which is on the north east shore of Lake Galilee. However he lands at Gennesaret, on the north west shore, just south of Capernaum. Perhaps the wind on the lake led to a change of plan, but we are told that Jesus calmed the storm (Mark 6:51). It's more likely that Mark has combined different stories at this point and constructs a series of stories that mirror the later episodes in chapter 8 describing a further miraculous feeding, followed by a crossing and then a healing (Mark 8:1-26). Repeating the stories in this way underlines how important Mark felt they were.

Jesus was making himself available for everyone, reaching out to all those in need. Even his clothing was acquiring healing properties; those seeking to touch the fringe of his cloak perhaps having heard about the woman with a bleeding disorder who had been healed when she touched Jesus' cloak in the crowd (Mark 5:27).

To Ponder

Imagine you were one of Jesus' disciples. How would you have felt looking back over the last 24 hours?

How much do you think healing depends on the faith of the individual and how much on the power of Jesus?

Can inanimate objects, like a cloak, have healing properties? Why?