Reflecting on Mark 1: 29-39
Dizzy yet? Four short weeks ago Jesus appeared for baptism by John at the Jordan, only to have the heavens tear open, the Spirit descend, and a Voice from heaven announce that this is, indeed, God’s own and beloved Son.
Hello, Gospel of Mark. You don’t waste any time, do you? Right off the bat you tell us who Jesus is, and woe to those who hoped for a leisurely recounting of his life. With Mark we are in for a hair-raising race through the adult life of Jesus, always with that unseen narrator asking us, “And so? Now that you know, how will you change your life?”
Two weeks ago we witnessed his call to the two sets of brothers, which went something like this: Cephas, Andrew, James, John, let’s go. And that was that. They left their livelihoods that very day. Such is the urgency of the gospel.
Last week Jesus made very fast work of the demons tormenting the man in the synagogue. Recall that they tried to buy time and chat him up when they saw him come in. What have you to do with us? they asked, pretending they didn’t know. Jesus put a stop to that right fast. Quiet! Come out of him! And that was that.
And today we see Jesus, in ten short verses, doing all three hallmarks of his ministry: healing, praying, and preaching. Simon’s mother-in-law is restored to service, which connects her back to her family. That night, demons are cast out and illnesses cured. Afterwards, Jesus retreats for quiet prayer, and, finally, goes about preaching.
All this, and we are only 39 verses into Mark. Fasten your seat belts.
How does the breakneck pace of Mark’s gospel inspire me?
Kathy McGovern ©2021