Perhaps the better question is “who wouldn’t like to be healed?” In this Sunday’s passage from Mark, we find Jesus in Capernaum after his first sermon and the casting out of a demon in the Synagogue. That all happened on the Sabbath, but Mark doesn’t indicate that there is any controversy about that particular Sabbath healing. He is, however, clear to note that what happens next, happens “at sundown.” The Sabbath is over when the whole town turns up at Simon Peter’s mother-in-law’s house for help. The construction of the NRSV is interesting to me. “That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door.”
As I read the passage this afternoon, I began to wonder, was the whole city in need of healing?
Biblical Greek didn’t utilize capitalization or punctuation and word order wasn’t really a thing. What we have is the best guess of the scholars doing the work of translation as to what the original authors meant. What that means, however, is that we can’t be sure that we’ve got the full meaning of the text before us. Young’s Literal, a late 1800s translation that I just learned was licensed to BibleWorks by The Institute for Creation Research, a Dallas-based non-profit and “a leader in scientific research within the context of biblical creation,” which means I may never use it again, translates Mark 1:32-33 in this way, “And evening having come, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all who were ill, and who were demoniacs, and the whole city was gathered together near the door…” For what its worth, the Greek uses as series of “kai’s” (and) to string together verses 32-44, so that they read, “and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this…”
If Jesus showed up in my town, and started healing people, you can bet that everyone would be there in search of some help. When we’re honest with ourselves, don’t all of us, on some level, wish we could be healed? Some wish to be healed of physical infirmities, some want healing from disease, some need healing from mental anguish, or the pain of the past, or the fear of the future, or the hurts of the now. Everyone could use the healing touch of Jesus in their lives. He may not still be walking the earth, but we are, and if we truly believe that the Church is the body of Christ, then part of our responsibility is to do his work of healing in the world around us. It isn’t easy work, and we won’t always be successful, but with the help of the abundance of God’s grace, we take our place in a long line of healing ministers and act as the hands, heart, and ears of Christ.