Where are we going in our spiritual lives? How is our journey going? Are we going kicking and screaming or trusting that Jesus will lead the way?
Let us to be willing to follow Jesus wherever he leads even in old age.
We will look at Mark 1:29-39 where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and everyone else who came to him, then told the disciples, Let’s go!
Simon’s Mother-in-Law Served
In an age of gender bias and political correctness many Christians are offended by the fact that Simon Peter’s mother-in-law served them immediately after being healed (Mark 1:31). Why did not Simon suggest that she rests a bit? Why did the disciples allow it? All of this presumes that she was not completely healed, but needed some recuperation, which was not the case. She was completely well. We also need to overcome our historical and cultural biases when seeking to understand the times. The Bible teaches that it is an honor and privilege to serve guests and that selfish people demand that they be served. This was not just a woman’s role thing, as some might wish to insert into the Scriptures. Jesus showed the role of a servant by washing the disciples’ feet and dying on the cross.
Freed to Serve
The healing of Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:31) and her service after being healed is a metaphor for our calling. It is a message filling the whole of the Gospel of Mark, all the Gospels and all of the Bible. God wants to free us from the physical and spiritual consequences of a sinful world so that we might join him in service too, the mission to heal the world. God wants to free us from all the things that sin cause such as fear, failure, despair and doubt. Do we hear God’s promises selfishly, for us alone? Do we go to church and go home to our comfortable homes without one thought of sharing God’s healing with a hurting world? Do we see God’s healing as an opportunity to also free others from hunger, discrimination, sickness, or unjust incarceration?
All Kinds of Healing
Jesus performed numerous healings in Mark 1:29-39. So what kind of healings does God offer? Throughout the Bible we see that the healing offered by God is not limited to sickness, but encompasses all of our lives. The Bible includes examples of healing broken hearts, mental problems, national healing, healing agricultural land and healing a family breach. Every aspect of our lives is reachable with God’s healing. Today, we need to be healed nationally and individually. Our communities need healing, not just our dishonest business practices and crime. Our churches need to be healed, not just division caused by power politics and non-essentials of doctrine. Our politics needs to be healed, not just bitter rancor and mud-slinging. Our families and marriages need to be healed, especially for our children’s sakes. Where is that healing available? Find out in church.
Anointing the Sick
When Jesus healed people we are not always told what if any physical rituals or ceremonies he performed. Often he seems to have just helped someone to their feet and they were healed (Mark 1:29-39). The disciples anointed the sick with oil (Mark 6:13). Jesus, however, did one time anoint a man with mud made from his own spit for his healing and then asked him to wash himself in water (John 9:6-11). We could do that if people prefer, but somehow I think that most will opt for the example of the disciples and the instruction in James 5:14-16 to use oil. Who were the elders that James mentioned? The word elder means many different things to different denominations today. But, in the historical context of the day the word referred to local church leaders.
Jesus healed everyone who came to him. There is no description of him pointing the finger at anyone saying he does not associate with a particular group of people (Mark 1:32). He spent the next morning in prayer and told his disciples, Let’s go to a different place! We too have been brought to Jesus for healing and afterwards he is telling us too, Let’s go to a different place! It may be that he wants us to move from a place of judgmentalism to grace, or church-hopping unfaithfulness to loyalty to one church for life. We each have a spiritual journey to take. It is different for each of us, but it is always a journey of faith, a journey from a place where Jesus healed us to a place where we can join him in healing others.
Let us follow as Jesus beckons and go to a different place in our spiritual lives.