Mark helps us avoid the pitfall of a one-sided emphasis on miracles by putting them within the context of Jesus' preaching. In our Gospel today there are several of them-- Mark recognizes these miracles as instances of Christ's freeing power, but doesn't stop there. The purpose of the exchange between Jesus and the disciples (1:35-39) is to tell us that Jesus didn't stop there, either. Seeing the acclaim and recognition that Jesus had won in Capernaum, the disciples expected Jesus to stay in the town and continue what he'd begun. But when they got up in the morning, they found Jesus in a lonely place, praying (v. 35). "Everyone is searching for you," they said, indicating that they expected him to return (v. 37). But Jesus turned the tables. "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also," He said, "for that is why I came out " (v. 38). Saying this, Jesus told the disciples his purpose: to spread the good news, preaching and teaching throughout Galilee. Seeing the miracles and the kind of recognition they provided, the disciples wanted to stay in Capernaum, riding Jesus' miracle-working power into a more glorious kind of life. But Jesus wouldn't hear of it. "I must go and I must preach," he said in so many words. "That is my purpose." And later, when the disciples were more ready for it, he told them his purpose was to die (see Mark 8:31). He insisted on preaching the word and going to the cross. Jesus' manifestation did not take place in a super earthly realm of glory, but in towns like Nazareth and Capernaum with common, ordinary, everyday people. And it tells us that Jesus' real epiphany was not in the miracles, glorious as they were, but in the word and finally in the cross itself. The miracles are like illustrations, pointing away from themselves to Christ and the cross.