Healing and wholeness

7 Nov

Good morning friends,

I cannot believe it has been a month since I wrote to you.  Life has not been that busy, but I have been distracted.  I went through the motions for my charge conference for my two churches.  This has become a fairly ridiculous exercise, but we do what must be done.  And now I am renovating my bathroom.  Of course, I am doing it on a budget, so the Habitat for Humanity Restore has become a particular help to my wallet and my sense of, “Reuse, Recycle, Reduce.”  I am excited that my old bathtub is going to be used for a big dog bath.   Now back to our regularly scheduled commentary.

So, we continue in the gospel of Mark (still in the first chapter).  This is a great passage.  In Mark everything happens fast and this story about the mother-in-law of Simon (Peter) is no different.  Some have seen it as a commentary on discipleship.

Jesus had been teaching and when he encounter a sick person; the no named mother-in-law in this case, he heals them.  There is no great incantation, no waiting for an audience, not even the women’s name gets into the story (but really, how important is a woman’s name anyway).  Jesus just reaches out, raises her up and heals her.  She immediately starts cooking dinner.

Now this definitely would not have been my response.  But, if I look at the story and think, now that she is healed she starts serving those around her through her gifts and talents. then I think maybe I can be in that story.  What about you?  Is there gratitude in the healing, a thanksgiving of service?

29-31 Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.

32-34 That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits. Because the demons knew his true identity, he didn’t let them say a word.

This part of the gospel sets a theme that will continue throughout the book of Mark.  Jesus remains the hidden messiah.  There are a lot of scholarly people who have written about this in Mark’s gospel.  I just want to say, that if the original hearers/readers of the gospel wonder, “If the son of God was really walking around our town, why didn’t we notice?” then this is their answer.

The other theme that I think we aught to think about is, that the healing Jesus performs are only incidentally/secondarily to his proclamation of the Good News of God.

35-37 While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. Simon and those with him went looking for him. They found him and said, “Everybody’s looking for you.”

38-39 Jesus said, “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I’ve come.” He went to their meeting places all through Galilee, preaching and throwing out the demons.

Jesus keeps his connection with God strong through prayer.  He doesn’t have a magic pipeline to God’s presence, it is the same as ours: Prayer.  And Jesus knows the priorities of his time and talent are to go to spreading the word of God.

I find this really interesting.  People often focus on Jesus as Healer.  Asking if he could have really done those things, wanting to be healed themselves, thinking that the healing was the benchmark of Jesus’ power.  However, Jesus says that he has come to preaching.  He continues to heal people that he encounters along the way, but preaching is the mission and the mission is what matters.

So now think about your relationship with God, think about what you want the power of Jesus to do in your life. . . Do you want healing from pain or despair or illness.. .  OR do you want to be taught by the words and example of Jesus life?  According to my reading of this text, if you have encountered to living presence of Jesus Christ, then you have been healed, and if you have been healed, then our response is to get up and serve.  I also think it is a good idea to keep learning about Jesus and letting his word seep into our soul and take root there.






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