The oddest thing about this story of Jesus performing a number of healings and exorcisms right at the start of his ministry is his order to the evil spirits not to proclaim that he was the messiah. As usual, I do my best to call out the oddity without offering any explanation for it, and I reinforce the theme by framing Jesus’ sudden disappearance the next morning and his unwillingness to stay in town to heal more people as an aspect of this mysterious aversion to publicity.
One other oddity about this story is that the Gospel of Mark places it right at the start of Jesus’ ministry, while Matthew and Luke have it occurring much later. I went with Mark’s time table for the following reasons:
- So I could have it follow Jesus’ casting out of the evil spirit in Capernaum, where he also ordered the evil spirit to stop proclaiming who he was.
- So I could bring in Judas again before he actually joins Jesus and have him talk about the unpredictability of figures like Jesus and his current master John the Baptist.
- Because it seemed better for this puzzling event to be one of the first impressions the disciples get of their new master.