Thursday, June 03, 2010

Miracle lust?

Reading chapter 1 of the Gospel of Mark this morning (when in doubt about what Scripture to read next, I often return to Mark), I noticed how after he begins his ministry Jesus routinely silences the demons (because they know who he is), and he also attempts to hush the man healed of leprosy. It's interesting to me that he does not want people to focus just now on "who he is" nor on the healings themselves. His desire now is simply to announce, rather mysteriously, the nearness of the kingdom of God. However, when the former-leper tells everyone that this Jesus had healed him (it must have been hard to keep that a secret, in any case), that's all that seems to matter to "the crowds." It's a kind of miracle lust, and Jesus is not inclined to indulge it at the expense of his message.

The ESV Study Bible note on verse 45 puts it this way:
The joy of the healed man overrides Jesus' injunction to silence and therefore Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, lest he be mobbed. So Jesus cannot stay hidden (e.g., v. 45; 3:7–12, 20; 6:31–33). Mark often emphasizes how the crowds' excessive attention to Jesus' miracles is a frequent problem, causing the crowds to miss the true purpose of his ministry (i.e., to proclaim the good news of the kingdom).
I wonder if it sometimes happens with us, too, that our desire for a miracle, a work of wonder, actually causes us to miss the core message--the kingdom of God is at hand.

1 comment:

n. davis rosback said...

i saw your title on my google reader and thought, "what can bob be saying about lust that's a miracle"?