As often happens in this blog, I started down one path and have found myself on another. I began this thread by talking about the story of the leper in Papyrus Egerton 2. That made me want to say something about the healing of a leper in Mark 1:40-44. But to make my point I had to talk about a textual problem in v. 41. And that has gotten me to talk about Jesus’ getting angry. He does appear to get angry before healing the leper (as found in some of our ancient manuscripts). But what is he angry about? To answer *that* question one needs to consider what Mark says otherwise about Jesus getting angry – something that never happens in Matthew or Luke.
But Jesus does get angry on several occasions in Mark’s Gospel. What is most interesting is that each account involves Jesus’ ability to perform miraculous deeds of healing.
In Mark 9 we find the account of a man pleading with Jesus to cast an evil demon from his son, since the disciples have proved unable to do so: “Often,” he tells Jesus, “it casts him into the fire and into water to destroy him; but if you are able, show us compassion and help us” (9:21-22). The man, in other words, asks for compassion. Strikingly enough, Jesus replies not with compassion but a rebuke: “If you are able?! All things are possible to the one who believes.” (9:23). The man then continues to plead: “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (9:24).
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