Revisiting Mark 2: the pattern and the callings

So, if you saw my last post on Mark, Revisiting Mark: the pattern, you saw a case for a pattern to the healings in Mark’s Gospel’s. But the full meaning of this pattern won’t be clear without considering the callings.

The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel

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Jesus’ first calling is by the sea. He calls four fishermen to abandon their work and follow him. Since, fishermen working by the sea doesn’t seem that odd, one might not think much about the detail. But then comes the calling of Levi:

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
(Mark 2:13-14 ESV)

In this case the fact that their by the sea seems to be a detail that has  no real significance. But it serves to link this calling with the previous calling.

And it fits in the pattern I set down in my last post:

Exorcism, Cure, Cleansing, Cure-Feet –> Cure-Hand

Notice how the healings work with the callings:

Call 4 by name : Heal 4 people –> Call 1 by name : heal 1 person

I will demonstrate (to your satisfaction, I hope) that each line of miracles has a calling attached to the first healings and then to the complementary miracle. Jesus calls four and heals four ending with a paralyzed man walking (feet) and then he calls one and heals one withered hand. This is the pattern for all.

But the next calling also covers all the rest of the healings in the Gospel:

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
(Mark 3:1-19 ESV)

Only seven more are called, but Levi is given a new name. So we have eight new names called and, for the rest of the Gospel, we have eight more healings.

That makes thirteen healings. If that number makes you uncomfortable, then consider Jesus called first in his baptism by John. Then his own resurrection makes the fourteenth healing.

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