In my last post, I came to the conclusion regarding Mark 1:29-39 that:
Healing points to resurrection, resurrection to rebirth, rebirth as new life free from the bondage of our minds and our bodies to sin and decay. (Romans 8:21)
There are a couple of other ways to develop the passage that are quite interesting. When I consider the subtlety of what Mark is doing for us here, my mind is immediately drawn to the great icons of our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters:
This anastasis (the other word used for resurrection in the Greek that is interchangeable with egeiren) fresco from The Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, Istanbul, Turkey is iconic (pun intended) in that it is a full-throated expression of our Christian hope. Here, the glorified Jesus who is now judge of heaven and earth takes both Adam and Eve by the hand and lifts them, like Simon’s mother-in-law, by the hand from death into life. Underneath his feet are the gates of hell (which are also the lids to the sarcophogi) are broken and placed right on top of Satan, illustrating Jesus’ final victory over the power of sin and death.
I feel this image expresses both our final hope in the bodily resurrection, as well as the answer to the question Paul posits in Romans 7:23-24: “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul, of course, has just come off of his famous passage about doing the exact opposite of what he should (vv. 15-20). The point he is making is the same “law of sin” that is at work in him compelling him to do wrong is beyond his control, and indicates human powerlessness that eventually comes full circle to death, something no one can avoid.
Yet, just as Paul indicates and brings to full expression in the loveliness which is Romans 8, the same power that raised Jesus and gives us a share in that promise has also shattered the grip of sin in our own lives. In Christ, we are literally and figuratively healed of our diseases, given a promise of the resurrection to come, and that resurrection leads us to a rebirth into freedom as the children of God.
So, the long and short of one way to develop the Mark 1:29-39 passage is that it is a proto-Gospel in itself; a small window into how Jesus comes into relation with us and has us participate in the power of the kingdom that eventually raises him from the dead, and will raise us as well.
Yet, what I think is most interesting is how Jesus does this…