by Bob Wickizer

He Played Real Good for Free
Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-12,21c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

One of the haunting melodies by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is a piece from the 1970s titled "He played real good for free." The song contrasts the life of the author who by that time was a top artist making millions against the life of a lone character playing the saxophone on a street corner without even a coin box in front. Here are the key verses to this song where Joni refers to herself in first person.

Me I play for fortunes
And those velvet curtain calls
I got a black limousine and about thirty-seven criminal
Escorting me to these halls

And I'll play if you have some money
Or if you're a friend to me
But that one-man band by the quick lunch stand
He was just playin' real good for free

Nobody, I say nobody, nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew they had never seen him on their TV screen
So they passed his music by.

Back on the streets of the village of Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee Jesus begins his ministry with the healing of Simon's mother-in-law. Jesus has just called Simon, James and John to follow him. They go to the synagogue to pray and then learn of Simon's mother-in-law. Jesus not only heals her but she gets off her bed and serves them a meal like any Jewish mother would do. That night the whole village gathers outside her door as sick people and those possessed of evil spirits are brought to Jesus for healing. The disciples who are a little wet behind the ears at this point begin to ponder the possibilities.

One of them might have said "You know we could charge a fee for healing and we would all be rich." Another interrupts and speculates "Maybe that's what Jesus had in mind was a healing and exorcism business. We could set the example in Capernaum and then branch out to other places. Can you imagine how much money we could make doing ...

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