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Finding the Core of the Historical Jesus



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The Miracle Worker

Ed. note: This is the story of a wandering miracle in Palestine. He would go from town to town (often by boat) and cure people of their illnesses. When cured, he often would tell them that it was their faith in God that cured them. Since travel by boat seems to play an integral part in the story, I have left in those passages. Also, the nature miracles concerning water and the loaves and fishes are left in, since they also seem to integrate neatly into the story. In this story, I have replaced the name "Jesus" with "the Miracle Worker". In this way, I hope keep the focus on the mission of this person.

I have removed passages that are sayings/parable-based (and which have parallels in Q or Thomas) and I have removed the passion narrative. To me, the passion narrative begins the moment the message in the Gospel of Mark switches from one of trust in God to the Savior's coming crucifixion. As far as the words of the Healer in this story, I have put them in bold font and color-coded them according to the weighted averages of the Jesus Seminar. The text of this story is taken from the World English Bible, though I have obviously edited it heavily (mostly removing text). I have left in the note links from the W.E.B. wherever possible.

Back to The Three Jesuses of the Gospel of Mark

The First Healing

(1,23) Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, (1,24) saying, "Ha! What do we have to do with you, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!"

(1,25) The Miracle Worker rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!"

(1,26) The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. (1,27) They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!" (1,28) The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area.

The Second Healing

(1,29) Immediately, when they had come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. (1,30) Now Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. (1,31) He came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them. (1,32) At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick, and those who were possessed by demons. (1,33) All the city was gathered together at the door. (1,34) He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. He didn't allow the demons to speak, because they knew him.

(1,35) Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there. (1,36) Simon and those who were with him followed after him; (1,37) and they found him, and told him, "Everyone is looking for you."

(1,38) He said to them, "Let's go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because I came out for this reason." (1,39) He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons.

The Third Healing

(1,40) A leper came to him, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, "If you want to, you can make me clean."

(1,41) Being moved with compassion, he stretched out his hand, and touched him, and said to him, "I want to. Be made clean." (1,42) When he had said this, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. (1,43) He strictly warned him, and immediately sent him out, (1,44) and said to him, "See you say nothing to anybody, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing the things which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them."

(1,45) But he went out, and began to proclaim it much, and to spread about the matter, so that the Miracle Worker could no more openly enter into a city, but was outside in desert places: and they came to him from everywhere.

(2,1) When he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house. (2,2) Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke the word to them.

The Fourth Healing

(2,3) Four people came, carrying a paralytic to him. (2,4) When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on. (2,5) The Miracle Worker, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."

(2,6) But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, (2,7) "Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

(2,8) Immediately the Miracle Worker, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you reason these things in your hearts? (2,9) Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?' (2,10) But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins," he said to the paralytic (2,11) "I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house."

(2,12) He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

The Fifth Healing

(3,1) He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered. (3,2) They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him. (3,3) He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up." (3,4) He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?" But they were silent. (3,5) When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other. (3,6) The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

(3,7) The Miracle Worker withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea, (3,8) from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him. (3,9) He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him. (3,10) For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him. (3,11) The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!" (3,12) He sternly warned them that they should not make him known.

(4,35) On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let's go over to the other side." (4,36) Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him. (4,37) A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. (4,38) He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, "Teacher, don't you care that we are dying?"

(4,39) He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (4,40) He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?"

(4,41) They were greatly afraid, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

(5,1) They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

The Sixth Healing

(5,2) When he had come out of the boat, immediately a man with an unclean spirit met him out of the tombs. (5,3) He lived in the tombs. Nobody could bind him any more, not even with chains, (5,4) because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. Nobody had the strength to tame him. (5,5) Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. (5,6) When he saw the Miracle Worker from afar, he ran and bowed down to him, (5,7) and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have I to do with you, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don't torment me." (5,8) For he said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"

(5,9) He asked him, "What is your name?"

He said to him, "My name is Legion, for we are many." (5,10) He begged him much that he would not send them away out of the country. (5,11) Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding. (5,12) All the demons begged him, saying, "Send us into the pigs, that we may enter into them."

(5,13) At once the Miracle Worker gave them permission. The unclean spirits came out and entered into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and they were drowned in the sea. (5,14) Those who fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the country.

The people came to see what it was that had happened. (5,15) They came to the Miracle Worker, and saw him who had been possessed by demons sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, even him who had the legion; and they were afraid. (5,16) Those who saw it declared to them how it happened to him who was possessed by demons, and about the pigs. (5,17) They began to beg him to depart from their region.

(5,18) As he was entering into the boat, he who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. (5,19) He didn't allow him, but said to him, "Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you."

(5,20) He went his way, and began to proclaim in Decapolis how the Miracle Worker had done great things for him, and everyone marveled.

The Seventh Healing

(5,21) When the Miracle Worker had crossed back over in the boat to the other side, a great multitude was gathered to him; and he was by the sea. (5,22) Behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, came; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, (5,23) and begged him much, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Please come and lay your hands on her, that she may be made healthy, and live."

(5,24) He went with him, and a great multitude followed him, and they pressed upon him on all sides.

Ed. note: This healing is interrupted with the story of the eighth healing.

The Eighth Healing

(5,25) A certain woman, who had an issue of blood for twelve years, (5,26) and had suffered many things by many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better, but rather grew worse, (5,27) having heard the things concerning the Miracle Worker, came up behind him in the crowd, and touched his clothes. (5,28) For she said, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be made well." (5,29) Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

(5,30) Immediately the Miracle Worker, perceiving in himself that the power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd, and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"

(5,31) His disciples said to him, "You see the multitude pressing against you, and you say, 'Who touched me?'"

(5,32) He looked around to see her who had done this thing. (5,33) But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

(5,34) He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be cured of your disease."

The Seventh Healing Continues

(5,35) While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue ruler's house saying, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?"

(5,36) But the Miracle Worker, when he heard the message spoken, immediately said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Don't be afraid, only believe." (5,37) He allowed no one to follow him. (5,38) He came to the synagogue ruler's house, and he saw an uproar, weeping, and great wailing. (5,39) When he had entered in, he said to them, "Why do you make an uproar and weep? The child is not dead, but is asleep."

(5,40) They ridiculed him. But he, having put them all out, took the father of the child, her mother, and those who were with him, and went in where the child was lying. (5,41) Taking the child by the hand, he said to her, "Talitha cumi!" which means, being interpreted, "Girl, I tell you, get up!" (5,42) Immediately the girl rose up and walked, for she was twelve years old. They were amazed with great amazement. (5,43) He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and commanded that something should be given to her to eat.

(6,12) The apostles went out and preached that people should repent. (6,13) They cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who were sick, and healed them.

( 6,30) The apostles gathered themselves together to Jesus, and they told him all things, whatever they had done, and whatever they had taught. (6,31) He said to them, "You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile." For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. (6,32) They went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.

The Miracle of the Five Loaves

(6,33) They saw them going, and many recognized him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to him. (6,34) The Miracle Worker came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. (6,35) When it was late in the day, his disciples came to him, and said, "This place is deserted, and it is late in the day. (6,36) Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages, and buy themselves bread, for they have nothing to eat."

(6,37) But he answered them, "You give them something to eat."

They asked him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give them something to eat?"

(6,38) He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go see."

When they knew, they said, "Five, and two fish."

(6,39) He commanded them that everyone should sit down in groups on the green grass. (6,40) They sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties. (6,41) He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves, and he gave to his disciples to set before them, and he divided the two fish among them all. (6,42) They all ate, and were filled. (6,43) They took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and also of the fish. (6,44) Those who ate the loaves were* five thousand men.

(6,45) Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the multitude away. (6,46) After he had taken leave of them, he went up the mountain to pray.

(6,47) When evening had come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he was alone on the land. (6,48) Seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them, about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea,* and he would have passed by them, (6,49) but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; (6,50) for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he immediately spoke with them, and said to them, "Cheer up! It is I! Don't be afraid." (6,51) He got into the boat with them; and the wind ceased, and they were very amazed among themselves, and marveled; (6,52) for they hadn't understood about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

(6,53) When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. (6,54) When they had come out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, (6,55) and ran around that whole region, and began to bring those who were sick, on their mats, to where they heard he was. (6,56) Wherever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch just the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched him were made well.

(7,24) From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon.

The Ninth Healing

(7,25) For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet. (7,26) Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter. (7,27) But the Miracle Worker said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

(7,28) But she answered him, "Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

(7,29) He said to her, "For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter."

(7,30) She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.

(7,31) Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis.

The Tenth Healing

(7,32) They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him. (7,33) He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue. (7,34) Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!" (7,35) Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly. (7,36) He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it. (7,37) They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"

The Miracle of the Seven Loaves

(8,1) In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, the Miracle Worker called his disciples to himself, and said to them, (8,2) "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. (8,3) If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."

(8,4) His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"

(8,5) He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?"

They said, "Seven."

(8,6) He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude. (8,7) They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also. (8,8) They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over. (8,9) Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.

(8,10) Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.

(8,13) He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side. (8,14) They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them. (8,15) He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."

(8,16) They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."

(8,17) The Miracle Worker, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened? (8,18) Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember? (8,19) When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?"

They told him, "Twelve."

(8,20) "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?"

They told him, "Seven."

(8,21) He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"

The Eleventh Healing

(8,22) He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. (8,23) He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.

(8,24) He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."

(8,25) Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly. (8,26) He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."

(9,14) Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them. (9,15) Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him. (9,16) He asked the scribes, "What are you asking them?"

The Twelfth Healing

(9,17) One of the multitude answered, "Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit; (9,18) and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren't able."

(9,19) He answered him, "Unbelieving generation, how long shall [must] I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me."

(9,20) They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.

(9,21) He asked his father, "How long has it been since this has come to him?"

He said, "From childhood. (9,22) Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."

(9,23) The Miracle Worker said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

Ed. note: The Scholars Version makes it clear with their translation that the Miracle Worker is upset and frustrated with the man's lack of faith. It is interesting to note that, by now, the Miracle Worker seems tired of it all. The thirteenth healing, to come, is his last.

(9,24) Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, "I believe. Help my unbelief!"

(9,25) When the Miracle Worker saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!"

(9,26) Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, "He is dead." (9,27) But the Miracle Worker took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.

(9,28) When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we cast it out?" (9,29) He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting."

The Thirteenth Healing

(10,46) They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. (10,47) When he heard that it was the Miracle Worker, he began to cry out, and say, "You son of David, have mercy on me!" (10,48) Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, "You son of David, have mercy on me!"

(10,49) The Miracle Worker stood still, and said, "Call him."

They called the blind man, saying to him, "Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!"

(10,50) He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to the Miracle Worker.

(10,51) The Miracle Worker asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"

The blind man said to him, "Rabboni, that I may see again."

(10,52) The Miracle Worker said to him, "Go your way. Your faith has made you well." Immediately he received his sight, and followed the Miracle Worker in the way.

Ed. note: I stop here because after this, the story shifts entirely to the theme of the Passion, that Jesus came to die for our sins. To pick up that story, see The Passion.


W.E.B. Notes:

[1] back to 6:33 TR reads "The multitudes" instead of "They"

[2] back to 6:37 200 denarii was about 7 or 8 months wages for an agricultural laborer.

[3] back to 6:44 TR adds "about"

[4] back to 6:48 see Job 9:8

[5] back to 6:50 or, "I AM!"

[6] back to 6:56 or, tassel

[7] back to 10:51 Rabboni is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for "great teacher."