Thursday, September 04, 2008

Unanswered questions

The Gospels are full of great unanswered questions.

The Gospel passage yesterday (Wednesday of the 22nd week of Ordinary Time) told the story about Jesus being in the home of Simon and healing his mother-in-law, following the healing of the demoniac in the Synagogue of Capernaum.  When evening comes, people show up at the house for Jesus to heal their sick family members.

From this, we get a bit of a timeline.  People show up "at sunset"?  This tells us it was a Saturday, since the Sabbath laws prohibited unnecessary labor (including walking to where Jesus was whilst carrying a sick person) until the Sabbath ended, at sunset.  It means the curing of the man possessed took place on Saturday morning, as did Simon's mother in law.  These were his first "healings on the Sabbath", which would later be something the Pharisees would freak out over.  Once the Sabbath was over (in a time when there was no precise clocks, this was established by the fact that you could see three separate stars in the sky), people who spent the Sabbath in their own homes discussing what they witnessed Jesus do in the synagogue could now bring their own sick and infirm to him for a cure.

But on to my question.  The last verse of the passage (4:44) says that "And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea."  The very next passage after that (5:1) says that he's preaching at Lake Gennesaret where he called Simon to follow Him.  My question is, how much time passed between Jesus' day in the home of Simon and their encounter on the lake?  How long did Simon have to ponder what he had seen and heard?

The previous two accounts of Jesus preaching, according to Luke, were both done in the synagogue "on the sabbath".  If he then goes on to tell us that Jesus was preaching in the synagogues of Judea, can we presume that each of those were on a Sabbath?  If so, that would mean the encounter with Peter and the miraculous catch of fish might have taken place weeks or months after the stay at his house.  In other words, Peter had time to "discern".  So did he have time, or didn't he?  How much time passed?

Many times the Gospels leave as many questions as they answer.

1 comment:

Dymphna said...

maybe the folks who showed up at sunset weren't strict obsevers of the law.