The five left the synagogue and went straight to Simon and Andrew’s house. They told Jesus that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with fever. Jesus went to her side and held her hand. Just like that the fever cooled and she got up and started mothering them.
When dusk fell the sick and haunted showed up at the door. It seemed like the whole city was outside. Jesus held the hands of many of the sick and they were cured. For many chased by darkness, he drove the evil away. The spirits knew what Jesus was; he gave them clear instructions to keep quiet.
Later, in the hush of night, Jesus left the house and found a lonely place to pray. Simon and some others searched till they finally found him - Everyone’s looking for you.
Jesus had a faraway look in his eyes. The other towns nearby, they need to hear something good too. That’s why I’m here. And so the synagogues around Galilee were filled with Jesus and his words and he drove the darkness away.
A leper came and dropped to his knees before Jesus: I’m begging you. Please take this away.
His story broke Jesus’ heart. Then Jesus did the unbelievable - he reached out and held the leper. You’re clean now. Just like that the man was made new.
Jesus was firm with him: Don’t tell anyone. Go show yourself to the priest and make the required offering from Moses’ law. That’s all I want you to do.
But that didn’t happen. The man made new just had to tell somebody; in fact, he told everybody.
This changed things for Jesus. He kept to the margins of the city now. But even there the people found him. They were coming from everywhere.
As I sat with these verses, I was struck again by the immediacy of Mark’s gospel. Miracles happened and lives changed, as I’ve put it, just like that…almost like, well, magic. I realize you may not like that last word.
And I cannot see Jesus stretching out his hand before the leper in some Charlton Heston pose/voice – Be clean…no, I see him taking the leper by the shoulders and drawing him close, close enough the leper could smell Jesus’ breath – You’re clean now.