Topic: Parallel passages from the gospels of Mark 1:21-35, Matthew 8:14-17, andLuke 4:31-41, which depict Jesus performing different miracle healings
The gospel of Mark is believed to be the earliest of the written Gospels and is considered by most scholars to be based on the oral and written traditions of the community. Therefore, Mark’s account of Jesus’ healings in Capernaum can undoubtedly be traced to stories of the actual events by people who witnessed the occurrences. According to the Gospel of Mark Jesus entered the town of Capernaum and when it became the Sabbath day he entered a synagogue and taught to willing townspeople. “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). In this synagogue there was a man with an “unclean spirit”, and this spirit recognized Jesus as the messiah and said, “I know who you are-the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24). Upon hearing this Jesus told the spirit, “Quiet! Come out of him!” (Mark 1:25) which resulted in the unclean spirit promptly extracting itself from the man’s body. This, understandably, amazed everyone who witnessed the event because in front of them was a man, named Jesus, who could command “even the unclean spirit and they obey him” (Mark 1:27). The story of Jesus’ healing of the man with the unclean spirit spread throughout Galilee and his fame amongst the peoples of the land increased rapidly. After Jesus left the synagogue he went to the house of Simon and Andrew, where he was informed that Simon’s mother-in-law suffered from a fever. “He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them” (Mark 1:31). Later on in the evening the whole town gathered at the door of Simon and Andrew in order to have Jesus cure those who were ailing. “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons” (Mark 1: 34).
When reading the above story it is important to remember that this event occurs before Jesus had achieved significant status among most groups of people, and at this point in his life he had only “recruited” the first four of his disciples. Subsequently, the people of Capernaum did not recognize Jesus as being the Son of God. The only beings that did acknowledge his true greatness as the “Holy One of God” were the unclean spirits. It was these same spirits that Jesus commanded to be “Quiet!” (Mark 1:25), “not permitting them to speak because they knew him” (Mark 1:34), which implies that Jesus did not desire for his divinity to be known just yet. When considering the placement of this story in Mark’s Gospel (at the beginning) it is obvious that such examples of Jesus performing miraculous restorations of health is intended to buttress the reader’s faith in Jesus as being truly holy. This passage is particularly significant because it depicts Jesus performing numerous feats that can be considered truly awesome and display the uncontestable truth that Jesus was the “Holy One of God”.
Following Mark as the second oldest of the Gospels is the Gospel of Matthew. It is apparent that Matthew’s Gospel was influenced by, but not limited to, the Gospel of Mark. In fact, it is believed that Matthew had two other sources, one named “M” which stands for “Matthew”, and another that scholars refer to as “Q”, which stands for the German word Quelle (“source”) . Evidence of all of these sources working together is noticeable in the passages that parallel the aforementioned works in the Gospel of Mark. The reason it can be interpreted that other sources influence Matthew’s story of Jesus’ healings is because of a few blatant differences. Upon arriving in Capernaum there is no sign in the Gospel of Matthew of Jesus teaching in a synagogue and curing a man with an unclean spirit like there was in Mark. In Matthew, rather than curing the mother-in-law of Simon, Jesus cures Peter’s mother-in-law. This instance does not only differ in the fact that the name of the person is different, but also in that Jesus noticed the mother-in-law without anyone