Sunday, February 4, 2018

Posted on Feb 02 2018

Bible Background: The 1st chapter of Mark is a flurry of activity (underscored by his use of the word “immediately”.) Jesus has healed a possessed man in the synagogue. Now he heals Peter’s mother-in-law, and crowds of sick people. Then he takes time to pray and prepares to take his ministry on the road!

Digging Deeper: 1. “Peter’s mother-in-law” is a reminder that the disciples had families! As they followed Jesus, they may have left their work behind, but they still had to juggle family responsibilities. How is that still true for us? Some of those who have become Christians (say, from non-Christian families) have had to choose between Jesus and family. How difficult might that be?

2. Peter’s mother-in-law has a fever. That doesn’t sound so serious to us. But in those days it could be deadly: no antibiotics, no thermometers, no Tylenol! She’s quite sick! Jesus ‘raises’ (Greek word) her up, and she begins to serve them! What has Jesus done besides cure her fever? He has restored her to her role in life! Think how hard it is to not be able to do your ‘job’ or what brings you fulfillment. Thanks to Jesus, she’s an integral part of the family/community again!

3. The more amazing thing is that the people bring all those sick or possessed by demons to Jesus and he cured many of them. That may raise the question of “why didn’t he cure all?” That confronts us with one of the huge challenges of faith: of us having faith, or praying fervently, and still not getting the answer we hoped for. In life, many people are healed of all sorts of things; and many are not. “Why?” is one of those painful questions we struggle with.

4. In the next scene, Jesus is praying, very early in the day, in a ‘deserted’ place. Simon and the others hunt for him. No doubt the folks at Capernaum wanted their amazing teacher and healer to stay there with them! But Jesus indicates that it’s time to go on to neighboring towns and proclaim the Good News all over. Jesus’ mission is not just to a few, but to the many!

5. “Jesus is healing and freeing people so that they can form communities that heal and free people.” Think of the healing that needs to happen in our communities, nation, and world: How do our fights over healthcare relate to that? Or our quandary over the opioid epidemic? What is the church’s role? What is the role of government? Where does the private sector fit in? What should be some underlying moral principles as we ponder and debate these things?