Blogging the Bible 262 – Mark 7-8 – Hands-on Healing

In these chapters, the thing which strikes me most powerfully is the sheer, earthy humanity of Jesus. It comes across in the way in which Mark tells of his words ‘declaring all foods clean’ in 7:14-23. The point he makes is that it is what comes from the heart that defiles us – the attitudes and actions that take away from our humanity and harm others. Food, he points out bluntly, is just passing through – literally. It doesn’t, in itself, affect us morally or spiritually on the way.
His humanity comes across in his conversation with the gentile woman in 7:24-30, too. Some writers treat this story as one where Jesus holds back to draw out faith from the woman before him, but taking it at face value, he’s tired and trying to get some rest. He speaks from within his priority of bringing renewal and freedom to Israel, and sends her away – only to be swayed by the faith and wit of her response. This story is then one that goes with Abraham’s argument with God over Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus is not a distant, abstract God, but one with whom we can, when necessary, have a bit of an argument – we can and should be bold, even pushing our luck a bit, in prayer. He seems to appreciate it!
But above all I see the down-to-earth humanity of Jesus in the miracles in these chapters. In healing the deaf and blind men, he uses touch and spit to connect with them and (somehow) to heal them. For a second time, he feeds a crowd not by creating bread and fish from nothing, but by taking what is there and working a wonder with it.
Jesus in Mark’s gospel seems more like the Creator of Genesis 2 than of Genesis 1 – not speaking things into being in an instant, but walking in his garden, shaping life with his hands and breathing his own life into it. Jesus is, very deeply and powerfully, Emmanuel, God with us. Even his miracles are rooted in the ordinary and the physical. Perhaps if we looked for his work today in such ordinary-seeming, hands-on ways we might recognise more miracles.

2 thoughts on “Blogging the Bible 262 – Mark 7-8 – Hands-on Healing

  1. amen! miracles happen around us without us knowing! I like your blog:)


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