Right now I am reading the gospel account of Mark, one chapter a day. I have only read the first half of the book so far, but I've noticed a couple trends.
I noticed that Jesus faced opposition often. It wasn't just something that all of a sudden happened right before His crucifixion. I picture Jesus's opponents sort of like schoolyard bullies bent on harassing, making fun of, and criticizing Jesus who is just going about His work. It seems that they were always hanging around, publicly questioning and doubting Him, His authority, or His motives.
The other thing I noticed, because honestly it's hard not to, is how much Jesus did in such a short time here on earth. Mark mostly limits his account to Jesus's ministry years, death, and resurrection. And yet, even though Mark's scope is limited compared to that of Matthew's and Luke's, he doesn't pause long on any one event. The book of Mark, divided into only 16 chapters, reads at a fast clip and is packed with accounts of Jesus healing various diseases and handicaps.
Two miraculous healings popped out to me in the first few books of Mark.
Mark 2:1–12 tells of the paralyzed man whose four friends carried his bed to the house where Jesus was teaching. Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “[R]ise, pick up your bed, and go home.” The paralyzed man did as Jesus said: “he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all” (vs. 11–12).
Mark 3:3–5 tells of a man with a withered hand in the synagogue. Jesus arrived at the synagogue, spotted this man, and said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” The man did as Jesus said and “his hand was restored” (vs. 5).
What if these men, the paralyzed man and the man with the withered hand, had the same attitude toward Jesus as His opponents? What if they doubted His power and authority? What if they labeled Him presumptuous?
What if the paralyzed man hadn't tried to stand up when Jesus told him to? What if he said, either out loud or in his heart, “Jesus, I can't do it. I have never been able to sit up, let alone stand! Why are you asking me to do something I obviously can't do? Who do you think you are?”
What if the man with the withered hand hadn't attempted to stretch out his arm when Jesus told him to? What if he admitted, “Jesus, I just don't believe that I can. My hand is what it is and that is how it will stay. Please don't taunt me; it offends me.”
I have said “I can't” plenty of times recently. In fact, just the other day, I texted a friend this message: “I don't think I can get better.” What if Jesus said to me, “Believe in Me, and I will heal your hurt”? And what if I believed?
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