Bible Book: Mark / Markus
Verse (to): 12
Text: Mark 2:1-12
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the weeks between Epiphany and Transfiguration Sunday. The longer Epiphany period has a rich variety of meanings and applications. With reference to the idea that “Epiphany” literally means “manifestation”, we can consider the time of Epiphany as the time in which the church stands still before the appearance of the Christ as human being. So Mark 2:1-12 is a suitable text with which to conclude this period. Here we see Jesus in a home (probably Peter’s) surrounded by a crowd of people to whom He is speaking (verse 2). He forgives the sins of a paralysed man and cures him. He acts in unconditional love, even though this causes the disapproval of the Pharisees. It is significant that Mark records here that Jesus calls Himself the “Son of Man” (verse 10).
The story of the four friends, who bring their paralysed friend to Jesus, is a favourite children’s Bible story, so it is one of the best-known stories from the gospels. Even so it remains a moving story of caring and helpfulness. Take a moment and look again at their courage, persistence, faith and ingenuity. In the actions of the four friends we see humanity as common humanity. Just imagine what this paralysed man must have felt when those four men came to fetch him and carry him to be healed!
What inspired the friends to behave like this?
I can imagine that it was more than simply a message of “here is a man who heals the sick!” Is it possible that the four friends have had contact with Jesus before – and that they have listened to his words – that they have seen Him in action? That they have been inspired by his humanity and the way in which He treated others to behave in the same manner? That Jesus’ common humanity has inspired them to do something about their paralysed friend’s predicament?
Even though there is no way to verify this assumption, one can say that Jesus’ presence in the community and his actions have kindled a hope in these friends. They realised that there was a possibility that their paralysed friend could be helped. This hope motivated them to carry him to Jesus and even break open the roof of the house to ensure that he is helped.
When we listen to the stories of people who are living with HIV, we need to pray: Lord, teach us what common humanity means! Inspire us through the example of Jesus. Move us through the hope that You put in our hearts. Amen.
Author: N du Toit (Ds)