Thursday, March 22, 2018

Jesus could do no mighty work there

And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them (Mk 6:5).

In his commentary, Darrell Bock makes a couple of trenchant observations about this provocative statement. Cf. D. Bock, Mark (Cambridge 2015), 202. I'd like to briefly expand on Bock's comments:

i) Bock's first point is that in the Gospels, people are usually healed by coming to Jesus or being brought to Jesus. If, however, Jesus faces a wall of animosity in Nazareth, then far fewer people than normal will present themselves to be healed. So it's not about his absolute inability to heal them, but about their refusal to seek him out for healing. Jesus typically leaves it to the ailing individual (or friends and family) to take the initiative. 

ii) In addition, there's a link between faith, the message, messenger, and healing. Jesus won't make a policy of healing people who aren't open to the Gospel. Physical healing is secondary. That's for this life, whereas salvation is primary–that's for all time. Jesus won't reward hostile unbelief. Accepting the gift but rejecting the giver. 

1 comment:

  1. Yep, and I think Matthew understood this perfectly well, and therefore there's no reason to attribute Matthew's using "did not do" rather than "could not do" to his being a Nervous Nellie about Christology. The evangelists just tell things in their own words.