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After Sunset


Mark 1:29-43

Here it is again – (euthus – immediately) – Immediately they left the synagogue, and go to Simon and Andrew’s home, where Simon’s mother in law is sick with a fever. Jesus heals her and then heals many who are brought to the house.
So – all this happens on the same day. A healing in the synagogue, a very personal healing in the home, and then the healing of a whole crowd of people.  And it’s the sabbath.
So is it significant that the large crowd only come to the house ‘after sunset’ ?  That is, when the sabbath is over.
Jesus sabbath activity would quickly become a cause for conflict between himself and the religious leaders.  We have the seeds of that conflict already, and in those two words ‘after sunset’, an idea of how much influence the religious laws had on the people, so that they wait until the sabbath is over and it is safe to come to Jesus.
As I ask how this gospel might speak into situations of oppression, it makes me think of situations where there are obstacles that prevent people from accessing health care, and other basic necessities.  
For Palestinians, the many regulations and checkpoints mean that people cannot live normal lives.  Every morning from 3 am, hundreds of Palestinian men will come to the Gilo checkpoint in Bethlehem to go through to work in Jerusalem.  They have to arrive this early to be sure of getting work.  They leave their homes while their families are asleep, and arrive back when they are once more asleep.  The checkpoints open at dawn, and they must wait in line, directed to move by red and green lights.  They can be turned back after waiting several hours even though they have been security checked.  It is a life without dignity and respect.
Next week, Pope Benedict will visit Jerusalem.  He will pass through the same checkpoint. But he will arrive at 8 am, when the authorities have dictated that he will arrive, and it will be quiet. 
So I have two pictures in my mind.  The first is a crowd of people in Capernaum, waiting for sunset, when it will be safe to come to Jesus.
The second is a crowd of people in Bethlehem waiting for sunrise, and eventually passing through to work, and an hour or so later the Pope arriving.

3 thoughts on “After Sunset

  1. Most of us, when we have had a hard day at work, just want to put our feet up after sunset. Because Jesus was tempted in every point just like us there was a temptation for Him to do the same.He said that He came to fulfil the law not to abolish it, but at times he was obviously taking the opportunity to make the religious leaders explore what the law was for and what it was meant to do.He is content to submit himself to those with earthly authority (and to what they will eventually do to Him) because He can see the bigger picture. He trusts/ knows that His Father will vindicate Him in the end. He is not critical of those who wait until sunset (and therefore extend His day) even if they are doing it from fear of the religious leaders (or even mere convention/ force of habit)more than out of a deep conviction that that is what God the Father wills. The important fact is that Jesus meets them where they are and seeks to lead them forward. He had the same desire for the religious leaders, but most of them refused to respond because they thought they had a better grasp of the truth than Jesus. We need to be careful that our attitude is not akin to that of the religious leaders and that we are open enough in our thinking to recognise that , leaving aside the Lord, nobody is absolutely right or has a monopoly on the truth – be they Israeli or Palestinian, or Anglican or Baptist or whatever.Every blessing to you in your pursuit of a richer walk with the Lord and a deeper insight of His truth as you work your way through your sabbatical.Bob

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