22 October 2021Mark 3:7-12
…he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. (v. 10)
Over the last few days we have seen Jesus in a variety of situations where he is in conflict with the established leaders and practices of his time. The atmosphere now changes from suspicion to adulation, but this too brings its own pressures. We don’t know whether Jesus’ decision to leave the cities and go to the lake shore was driven by a desire to retreat and have quality time with his disciples. That was certainly the case at other times.
However, people found where he was and flocked to him. Mark gives us quite a long list of places, scattered throughout Palestine, from which they came. When we remember they all would have had to walk, sometimes for days, to reach him we see that this was a substantial movement of humanity, some of whom were curious, some excited and some desperate.
There’s a scene in the rock musical 'Jesus Christ Superstar' where the bedraggled crowds press in on Jesus with ever greater intensity until Jesus screams that he wants to be left alone. Whereas we might understand that response, it’s not the response of Jesus as Mark introduces him. Jesus puts a little physical space between himself and the crowd by stepping into a boat, but he continues his ministry of healing. God’s reign of love is not overwhelmed by human need.
Towards the end of our reading we see how the evil spirits recognise him for who he is, the Son of God. This should come as no surprise to Mark’s readers, for Jesus has been described as such in the very first verse of the Gospel and acknowledged as such in his baptism. Yet the spirits are silenced, for this is not the time to reveal Jesus’ full identity. We do not really understand what it means to proclaim Jesus as God’s Son until we have come to terms with the fact that he will be betrayed, arrested, crucified and then rise from the dead.
- Imagine you had been one of the disciples close to Jesus, and prepared the boat for him. How would you have felt when you saw what was happening?
Lord, help me to learn what it means to trust you fully and to walk the way of the Cross faithfully. Amen.