“I’ve heard this story a thousand times, and I thought I knew what it was about. Apparently, I didn’t know squat.”
John nodded and whispered back to Pete, “I know. It’s like he was there.”
“It’s more than that—it’s like he wrote it.”
As Peter and John listened to Jesus recite and explain the scriptures about Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son, they were astounded. They weren’t alone. Peter looked around at the faces of the others in the synagogue in Capernaum; people were hanging onto every word.
Suddenly, a man stood up and bellowed in an unnaturally low voice that sounded like it came from the depths of Hell, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? We know who you are—the Holy One of God.” The shock over the sudden outburst was outdone only by the fact that the temperature in the room immediately dropped by at least twenty-five degrees.
Jesus stopped and looked at the man. “Shut your mouth. I command you to come out of him at once!”
As Pete watched, the man was thrown to the ground, shaking and screaming. Pete saw something like black smoke billow from the man’s mouth and then dissipate. The room warmed back up.
“Shit,” said Pete, not whispering anymore, “Did y’all see that?”
John could only nod.
A man next to him asked, “What the hell? Who is this man? He gives orders to devils and they obey him?”
“His name is Jesus,” said Pete.
Not surprisingly, the whole demon-shrieking deal pretty much broke up the services. Jesus and the boys left the synagogue and went to Pete’s house, where Pete’s wife, Sue, was gonna fix ’em supper.
“Peter, where’ve y’all been?”
“We’ve been at church, Sue. You should’ve been there. You ain’t gonna believe it, but while Jesus was teaching…”
Before Pete could go any further, she cut him off. “I don’t care what happened. Mama’s bad sick,” Sue said.
“What d’ya mean?” asked Pete.
“I mean she’s got a fever. Not just any fever. She’s shiverin and shakin, and her breathin’s real bad. I’m scared for her, Peter.”
“Where’s she at?”
“In bed,” Sue said, “I can’t get her out.”
About that time, Jesus walked over. “What’s goin on?”
“Sue’s mama’s sick,” said Peter.
“Oh, yeah?” asked Jesus.
“Bad sick,” said Sue.
“Let me go see her,” said Jesus.
Sue led her husband and Jesus into the back room. Sue’s mom lay on the bed, wrapped in a blanket, pale and shivering. Jesus knelt and took her right hand in his right hand; with his left, he gently caressed her brow. “Fever, leave this woman,” said Jesus. Peter heard the compassion in his voice, yet the command to the fever possessed the same authority that had ordered the devil out of the man in church. Immediately the shivering stopped and the color returned to the old woman’s face, a smile along with it. She got up from the bed and began rearranging her hair.
“Mama, get back in bed,” said Sue.
“Baby, I feel fine. I feel better than fine. I feel like a new person. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good. Let me help you get supper together.” She turned to Jesus. “Thank you, sir.”
“No problem,” said Jesus.
After supper, Jesus and the boys sat around the table finishing off a bottle of wine. The sun was just going down.
Peter took a sip of wine and then looked at Jesus. “Sir, there is so much I want to ask you about the things that happened today, but I almost don’t know where to start.”
About that time there was a knock at the door. Andy got up to see who it was. When Andy opened the door, he saw a crowd of people gathering outside. More were coming down the road toward the house. “What do you want?” Andy asked.
One of the men held a little girl in his arms. “We saw what this man Jesus did in the church today, and we’ve heard he’s healed many people, and I was just hoping that perhaps he could help my daughter. She falls to the ground all the time and has fits.”
“My wife here’s been blind for thirteen years,” said another man, holding his wife’s hand. “Do you think he could help her?”
“Y’all go on. He’s tired and had a tough day,” said Andy.
“Please, sir, just ask him for us,” said the man holding the little girl.
Andrew looked at the growing crowd of hurting people before him. “Wait here,” said Andrew, “I’ll be right back.”
Andy shut the door and returned to the table. “Sir, there’s a whole bunch of people gatherin ’ up outside. Seems like everybody in town who’s got somethin wrong with ’em wants you to fix ’em.”
Jesus smiled, took a long drink of wine, set his cup down on the table, and said, “Well, boys, let’s get to work.”
Hours later, after the crowd had left and everyone in the house had gone to bed, Peter and John sat at the table and had another cup of wine.
“Well, that was one heck of a day,” said Peter.
“Cuttin down on your cussin, are you, Pete?” said John with a smile.
“Ha, I guess I am,” Peter grinned, “How many miracles did we see this man do today? Two hundred? More?” asked Pete.
“I lost count,” said John, “You know, every single person who came to him today and asked to be healed, was healed.”
“You’re right,” said Pete, “He didn’t turn a single person away.”
“I tell you, Pete, I love this man,” said John, “But in a way, I’m kinda scared of him too.”
“What are we witnessing, John?” asked Pete.
John reached for his glass of wine. “I don’t know,” said John, “But it sure is exciting.”
This fictional account is taken from Mark 1:21–28.