Tuesday, January 11, 2011


1. There is no change in time as Jesus goes to the house of Simon on the Sabbath. He heals a man (v 21-28) and then a woman (v29-31) in immediate succession. As Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever Jesus went to her and touched her. The fever departed immediately and she began to serve them. This miracle is an ideal example for the healing narrative: problem, request, touch, miracle, demonstration.

2. A respected religious leader would not take any woman by hand. There are precedents for rabbis taking the hand of men but there are no examples of rabbis doing so for a woman and certainly not on the Sabbath. Jesus could be accused of contracting uncleanness and violating the Sabbath.

3. He further allowed himself to be served by this woman. This may appear normal enough to us, but no self-respecting rabbi would allow such a thing. As Rabbi Samuel (d.ca.254 C.E) had said: ‘One must under no circumstances be served by a woman, be she adult or child. Jesus’ attitude and approach to a woman is a clear indication of the reigning presence of God, vanquishing the reign of evil, symbolized by devil possession, taboo and physical illness.

4. Jesus was tired, very fatigued. The day had been long and full of stress, yet He made Himself available, even at an odd hour. A person can approach Jesus anyplace, anytime – at any hour of the day or night.

5. Jesus’ early rising, going to the traditional setting for personal prayer (a lonely place) and his prayer indicate that the events have their origins in God. Jesus is not a free agent. After the first day of restless activity and total success over a variety of evils, he turns to God.

Jesus is teaching a great lesson on availability and approachability. These two should go hand in hand. He did not distinguish between men and women, he was available for all. Being available alone is not sufficient, we should also be approachable.


The Gospel of Mark – A Commentary by Francis J. Moloney

The Preachers Outline and the Sermon Bible

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