Our particular reading plan for Lent this year includes the entire Gospel of Mark. This past Sunday, the message centered on the words of Christ, primarily in chapter 5. (You can find the plan in the calendar in the right column. Click on the underlined day and it will display the reading for the day.)
The passages in Mark relate to a series of miracles and the words of Jesus to the people involved.
- . . . “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.“
- . . .”Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
- . . . “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”(Mar 5:1-43 NIV)
- . . . And moved with compassion, He stretched out His hand, and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.“(Mar 1:40-41 NAS77)
When we tell “how much the Lord has done for [us]”, it helps us remember. Like Peter says, when we find that we are not useful and productive in our knowledge of Him it is because we have forgotten (2 Peter 1:3-11) . The time I spend telling folks about what God has done in me is the foundation of my growing faith. It reminds me that I still need him. Remember, remember, remember that you are not who you once were and you are a work still in progress.
Our faith will bring healing, but sometimes we don’t lived healed. Jesus says, “be freed from your suffering”. We don’t have to wallow in our misery. We don’t have to continue to suffer in our guilt and shame. We don’t have to stay where we have been. There is a new life and it includes freedom, so live free.
Our world is such a fearful place. We are afraid of everything from terrorism to global environmental catastrophes, but the greatest fears are of isolation, abandonment and rejection. We are afraid we don’t measure up. We are afraid we will be left alone. We are afraid we can’t know real love. We are afraid we will fail. Jesus says we don’t have to be afraid.
Jesus is willing. Jesus wants us to be healed. He doesn’t ever say, “you just don’t deserve to be healed.” He says, “come to Me you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” It is so tiring being afraid and living a life of suffering. It doesn’t have to be that way.
This Lenten Season, keep your eyes on the red letters.