Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 6:45-56

Walking on water, today! Classic story. Interestingly, this book misses the whole Peter part of the story. Really, it seems to focus more on the disciples and their reaction. Their hearts were hardened, which reminds me of what happened to Pharaoh back in Exodus. Was it intentional, maybe?

I mean, on one hand, Jesus is doing some pretty flashy miracles. They should be aware of his divinity by now, if not his prophet status. So why harden their heart? Perhaps it was because the disciples had their own ideas about the Messiah—that’s probably the most likely. Even when they do find out, Jesus tells them to keep quiet, and they still want to rebel against Rome. So that’s probably the answer. (My initial read-through made me wonder if Satan was perhaps hardening their hearts, but I think the second one is more in-line with Jesus’ character and the four gospels as a whole.)

Then Jesus goes to heal people. I’ll say this about Mark: he likes to talk about Jesus healing people. I feel like every chapter Jesus is pausing to heal the sick. Well, being crowded to heal the sick. People forcing their ways in, crowding, people begging to be cured. Jesus isn’t the one who wants to do that. People are making Him do it, to a certain extent.

Maybe we have to force miracles, sometimes. I don’t really like the saying that God helps those who help themselves, but there is a nugget of truth in it. If you bring the sick, push them in, and get close to his cloak, you get cured. We don’t ever hear about a sick person being near Jesus and not being healed. Jesus will heal, if you get there.

Of course, that brings up other questions. God doesn’t answer prayer requests if you beg and plead and kick and scream. There isn’t a physical Jesus I can go up and beg to, and ask to heal my arthritis or whatnot. I don’t have that option. And I can pray and pray and pray, but the odds are good that God won’t cure my arthritis. Maybe a joint replacement, but not a true healing. Not like this. Maybe it was a  one-time only sort of thing…

It doesn’t happen today. It could. I have faith. And people are, sometimes, healed. But to force your way towards Jesus like that seems rude, almost, and yet it is rewarded. I love God, but I wouldn’t want to be that, I don’t know, disrespectful? Pushy? I would want to be on my best behavior, politest decorum. I wouldn’t want to push myself towards God. But that is rewarded here. It’s not encouraged, but it is rewarded.

And what about the whole idea of God’s plan? God evidently wanted me to get arthritis, on a certain level (it’s a good example). I don’t know why. I’m supposed to trust that it’s part of His plan and He is using it, though. That’s what I’ve been taught is the right thing to do, to accept, not to push forth and demand another answer. So why does Jesus choose to heal these people when they are demanding another answer? Is it so they would be converted? I guess that would go back to the Prodigal’s Son…big party for the returning son, nothing for the older one. Big healing for the converted believers, nothing for someone like me who has been there all along. Although in the Prodigal’s Son, the older son had everything all along, and I’m still sick in this analogy. (Not leprosy bad, but still. Not perfect.)

But it still seems to indicate that we are supposed to push and shove and get to God. That’s not me. I hope a hand being raised from the back would get attention. Or screaming—I can do a lot of screaming and yelling. (Which also feels a little rude.) But the crowding for a grasp of the cloak, that’s not me.

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