Mark 1:12-2:12 (part two)
Every now and then I come across a person or a situation that I think will never change. Some problems just seem too deep, some issues too ingrained, some addictions too powerful to ever be fixed or made right. I came across just such a problem-person last week. I even agreed with someone who said, “I think he’s beyond hope.” Sad, I know. I gave up hoping that this person could ever be delivered from the junk that enslaves him.
I suppose what I’m really admitting is that sometimes I do not believe Jesus has the power necessary to solve certain problems, to heal certain people.
Thankfully, these first couple of chapters of Mark have challenged my unbelief. From the get-go, Jesus establishes his authority and his ability to radically transform all kinds of people. Take a look…
There’s that guy who everyone thought was crazy… a serious mental illness case. He walked right into the middle of the church service and started yelling at Jesus who was teaching. Jesus didn’t scoot away from the man like everyone else probably did. He knew what the man’s real problem was. Jesus walked straight over to the man, spoke directly to the demon who was tormenting him, and told that demon exactly where he could go. Jesus exercised his authority. The demon had no choice but to obey.
Then there was the leper, the guy who lived on the outskirts of town. He was considered dangerous because he suffered from a deadly disease everyone thought was contagious. He found Jesus and fell on his knees in front of him, begging. He knew Jesus was his only hope. Jesus was moved with pity. He wasn’t afraid to touch the man because he knew he had authority over the disease.
Not to mention the guy who was completely paralyzed. He couldn’t do anything for himself; he depended on his friends for all of his basic needs. His friends went out on a limb, for sure, bringing him to Jesus. Actually, they went up on a roof, dug a hole through it, and lowered the guy down right in front of Jesus. Jesus healed the guy, but first he addressed the real problem. Jesus forgave him.
There were others. A woman imprisoned in her house with a fever. Lots of people around town with troubled minds and bodies. Jesus asserted authority over what tormented them.
I am convicted by the faith of the leper who approached Jesus and said, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Not “if you can” but “if you will.” He did not doubt Jesus’s power.
I am shamed by the faith of the paralytic’s friends. They did not give up hope. They fought hard to get an audience with Jesus and ended up getting more than they bargained for.
I have to remind myself that no one, nothing is beyond Jesus’s reach. No one, nothing is outside his jurisdiction. He is stronger than any emotional damage, mental illness, or crippling addiction. He is stronger. He has authority. There is always hope.
N.T. Wright says it this way: “(Jesus had) come to stop the nightmare, to rescue people, both nations and individuals, from the destructive forces that enslaved them. So whether it was shrieking demons, a woman with a fever, or simply whatever diseases people happened to suffer from, Jesus dealt with them, all with the same gentle but deeply effective authority” (Mark for Everyone, 12).
Yes, he is stronger. There is always hope.
You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, “Christ is risen!”
Jesus, you are Lord of all!
“Stronger” by Hillsong