Sunday

"He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up." (v. 31)

Mark 1:29-39 Sunday 8 February 2015

Psalm: Psalm 147


Background

A visit to the in-laws is often an event of legend. The politicsof the family unit is one of the most dangerous pieces ofnegotiation one will ever have to traverse.

In this passage, Jesus arrives at Simon's mother-in-law's house.There is a sense of urgency to the visit - Jesus, John and James gostraight after worship. But Simon and Andrew are conspicuous bytheir absence.

This was going to be no ordinary visit. There are no pleasantriesexchanged; no awkward polite conversations. Instead, we areentering the sacrosanct moment of sickness and potentialdeath. 

The un-named mother-in-law is in bed with a fever. And thediagnosis has fatal implications. 

Into this situation, we are given an opportunity to glimpse thesignificance of a compassionate life. Jesus, upon hearing thedetails of the situation, goes into her room and takes her hand. Inthe quiet of that moment, and in the simplicity of that action, thefever leaves her. 

Jesus did not have to touch her - indeed, that very action goesagainst all conventions of health, hygiene and Jewish regulations.When rules, regulations and expectations are transformed by thekingdom of God, however, the 'right' thing to do is to follow thecall of compassion and to sit at the bedside, holding the hand ofthe sick and the dying. To hold the silence, and not to beafraid. 

This is such a beautiful and compassionate scene on its own. Butglimpses of kingdom living such as this demand something more. Foras that sick woman received healing and restoration, so she beganto serve the people who were now in her home. 

Grace and compassion lead to a response of grace, compassion andhospitality. 

As the sun sets, marking the end of the Sabbath observance, thescene is transformed from one of solemnity and silence into a placeof hope in the midst of hopelessness. Compassion, grace and hopebecome contagious in the area. The word is out. Jesus is in thevicinity. And when Jesus is in the neighbourhood, things start tohappen. 

To Ponder

  • Jesus held the hand of Simon's mother-in-law. Whose hand areyou holding? And who is holding your hand?
  • How could you demonstrate a compassionate life today?
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