Due to a last minute scheduling change, I suddenly find myself preaching this week. With the need to write a sermon on my mind, I read the Gospel lesson for Sunday again this morning, and realized that in all my excitement at the word “authority” yesterday, I had totally missed what the story is about. Did you know that Jesus performs a miracle in this week’s text? Apparently, I didn’t until today.
My quick-and-dirty reading of the Scriptures notwithstanding, this miracle that Jesus performs does, in the grand scheme of things, seem somewhat unremarkable. First, it is the cleansing of an unclean spirit, which seems pretty common place among the Feeding of the 5,000, walking on water, and raising the dead. What’s more, in a Gospel that tends to be sparse on details, Mark tells us that this all happened in the Synagogue on the Sabbath, and nobody gave a darn about it. Normally, when Jesus performs a miracle on the Sabbath, everybody gets all up in arms about it, but here, nobody says a word. It’s not a thing. It’s totally unremarkable, well, kind of. I wonder why that is.
Rhetorically, it is probably because it occurs in Mark 1, and there is no need to raise the tension level between Jesus and the powers-that-be quite yet, but is there more than that? This unremarkable miracle didn’t get Jesus in trouble, but rather, is started the spread of his fame. He performed many other miracles that day, at least one, the healing of Simon Peter’s Mother-in-Law, we’re told came before sunset. What does the preacher do, if anything, with this unremarkable miracle?