In todays reading Jesus is confronted with two very distinct, yet similar, situations that He deals with.
The first one in Mark 1-40:45 seems more private, while the second one in Mark 2:1-12 is very public.
The first one describes a situation that Jesus wants to keep private, while the second one is completed and openly displayed in public.
In the first one, Jesus is approached by a leper. Leprosy was a dreaded disease that rendered the one who had it unclean and untouchable. Those who had leprosy were forbidden to come into the presence of others to avoid defiling others by their touch. This kept them isolated and separated from others in the community. They were truly the outcasts of society. It is probable that this man had not felt the loving comforting touch of another for a long, long time.
Jesus tosses aside all of these social taboos surrounding leprosy and casts aside His own concerns about defiling himself. He reaches out and touches the leper with His loving hand and immediately the leper was made clean and restored. This healing is a reminder that we must refuse to put up with the man-made boundaries or limits that we often times place around the mercy of Jesus. It is my belief that we did this at the beginning of the covid experience, and society is paying for it to this day. Afterwards, Jesus sternly charges the man to not say anything to anyone until he first went to the priests who would issue a certificate in writing to certify that he was indeed healed. This would allow him to rejoin society. He could not contain his excitement and he goes about sharing the good news freely and the word began to spread rapidly.
When have we ever heard that a man who was divinely healed be asked not to testify of that healing? This healing was a sign that Jesus had come into the world to restore all creation to wholeness. It points to a time when there would be no sin, no disease and no death that would keep us separated from the love of God and others through Jesus Christ. There are many who still suffer today and we know all too well the devastating effects of any number of diseases. We hold fast to our faith and hope that nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God, which is ours through Christ Jesus, our Lord. When God looks into our eyes He sees us through the eyes of the loving compassionate grace of Jesus, who is the only intercessor between God and man.
In the second situation, Jesus was now back home and what he had done previously in healing the leper, had followed Him home. The four men who helped the paralytic to be with Jesus were extraordinary men. They have merciful hearts, hearts that are not only concerned for their own wellbeing, but the wellbeing of others. They are reflections of what we should feel when we observe the compassion Christ had for others as was read in the previous section of scripture (Mark 1:40-45).
Just imagine the hardship that they had to go through so that they could bring this paralytic to Jesus. Surely, the four selfless men went home very happy with the thought in mind that they’ve done something that was worthwhile.
How many of us are like these four selfless men? How many of us will take time to visit the sick or just pick someone up in order to get to church or the hospital? Have there been times when we have avoided or been indifferent to the plight of the sick? Have there been times we have let a golden opportunity slip through our hands by not helping those who are in dire need of our help?
As long as we have breath, it’s not too late to reverse this cycle of indifference to the sick, poor and the underprivileged. The greatest reward we get on earth is to help someone who cannot pay us back.
Then we observe these scribes who view the world through a negative lens. The scribes, who I believe could be viewed as today's modern media, ask, how can He forgive sins? Jesus not only says that this paralytics sins are forgiven, but He rewards the faith of his friends by healing him. No one had seen or heard anything like this before, but they had better get used to it!!!
Heavenly Father, We pray that you will send your healing grace and mercy to all those who are sick and in need of Your presence in our lives. We pray that our attitudes would be inclined to treat those who are oppressed in the same manner You did, with mercy and compassion and healing.
The scribes did just the opposite. They could only see what you did as blasphemous.
May our relationship with You teach us to be drawn to what You are drawn to, in order to minister truth and healing into all situations.
In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen!!!