That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and 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.
I don’t know if anyone actually told me these exact words, but I grew up to believe that I individually and personally stood alone. It was all up to me. I was the only one on my team, everyone else was suspect at best, the enemy at worst.
Perhaps it was because of the family I grew up in. Children of immigrants that had to make their own way in the new world. All four of my grandparents traveled as teenagers from the old country to America. They left with the cloths on their backs and an address in their pocket where they might find a relative. Once they got here, there were no social programs or financial safety nets, they had to find any kind of work right away in order to survive.
Or perhaps it was because the sport I grew up with, bowling. In bowling, it’s just you, no one is helping, you stand all alone with a ball on a lane. There is no one helping on offense or defense. You might be on a team, but the team doesn’t help you. Your score and performance are projected brightly, on display, for all the world to see. There’s nowhere to hide when you throw a split, miss a spare, throw a gutter ball, or hit yourself with the ball.
In one way, Jesus experienced this same thing. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and the news spread like wildfire. And the thing you’d expect is that everyone would immediately drop everything and run to Jesus with their sick relatives and friends.
But there is a silent pause in the action. They knew about Jesus. They knew where Jesus was. They knew what Jesus had done. Yet, they choose to wait. But why?
The news spread quickly about Jesus’ healing Peter’s mother-in-law. But because of religious and civil laws, they had to wait till sunset before they ventured outside. They waited till it was ok, it was legal and safe to leave their homes.
And when it was safe, boy did they come.
Here’s this gathering crowd, coming to Jesus with all their demands and needs. I’m sure that it was confusing. There was no organized line with ropes to make sure no one cut in line. People were coming from all different directions, with all different kinds of ailments, with all kinds of pain. It was disorganized at best. Chaotic at worst.
When it came to healing these people, Jesus didn’t delegate it. He didn’t pass it on. When they came, he stepped up and personally met them, healed them.
It’s very un-American to say, but what I like most about this story is the lack of details. We want lots and lots of details. Many high-definition cameras from lots of different angles. We want to be able to see each and every second, each and every frame so we can figure it out for ourselves. It gives us satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment.
If you look at it carefully, it doesn’t say what he did or didn’t do, it’s silent on the how. It doesn’t say if he touched them, or not. It doesn’t say if he spoke to them, or not. It doesn’t say if he prayed for them, or not. It doesn’t give us any of the details that we long for.
It may be short on the how, but the story is long on the who.
Whole town – that sums it up, everyone who lived there.
Healed many – lots of people with lots of different physical problems were healed.
Drove out many demons – lots of people with lots of different spiritual problems found relief and release.
And we want to fill in the gaps with our imaginations. And that’s OK to a point. But if Mark keeps silent about the details, then let’s pull back, relax, and let the straightforward simplicity of the story wash over us. If we needed more details, then God would have put it in Mark’s mind to write them down.
For now, it’s enough to know that Jesus healed. It’s enough to know that Jesus drove out demons. And it’s enough to know that he can do the same for you, for me, for our personal “whole town.”
We don’t need to get all tied up in the how, but we certainly need to get all tied up with the who. And the who is Jesus.
So, how tied up are you with Jesus?