Stroll through Scripture for Sunday, January 7, 2024

Based on the reading from Mark 2:1-22

Last week we were introduced to Mark’s Gospel (“the beginning of the Good News of Jesus the Messiah…”) – which includes a distinct sense of urgency by Mark’s writing style jumping from one thing immediately to the next in rapid succession.  This will continue throughout the Gospel.  And we’ll see familiar patterns emerge throughout the Gospel as well.  There’s action, little dialogue, calling followers, conflict and healing.  Chapter two will have more healings, more action, more calling followers, and more conflict.  

Chapter 2 starts us off with Jesus healing a paralytic in Capernaum.  This will parallel with the beginning of Chapter 3 when Jesus heals the man with the paralyzed hand.  In both accounts, Jesus not only does a healing, but claims authority that is criticized by the religious authorities.  

Two of the more interesting aspects of Mark’s Gospel are that Jesus is almost always accompanied by the crowds and that when Jesus calls someone, they follow without hesitation.  The Pharisees and the scribes, (and later the Sadducees, the temple authorities, and the Herodians), the defenders of the religious, theological, and even political status quo to some degree, will confront Jesus throughout the Gospel story, always questioning by what authority he is acting.  In Chapter 2 the Gospel introduces us to Jesus’ first and most common self-proclaimed title – Son of Man.  

Son of Man (or humanity), is paired with the other significant title attributed to Jesus – Son of God.  These terms have a long and complex history and meaning to them.  Combined the titles describe Jesus – fully human and fully God.  But not just any human.  Gotquestions.org, a religious question and answer website, offers a nice simple summary of what the term Son of Man is really about – “Jesus is the supreme example of all that God intended mankind to be, the embodiment of truth and grace (John 1:14). In Him “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). For this reason, the Son of Man was able to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). The Son of Man came to save lives (Luke 9:5619:10), rise from the dead (Mark 9:9), and execute judgment (John 5:27). At His trial before the high priest, Jesus said, “I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64).” – (Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Son-of-Man.html)  

Questions for Reflection:

  • Take a moment to put yourself as a member of the crowd who gathers around Jesus.  Why are you drawn to him?  What do you hope for?  
  • Now take a moment to put yourself as a member of the religious status quo.  What do you fear from Jesus?  How will he upset the religious apple cart of how things have “always” been done?  

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