[Jesus] said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
I like this miracle story of Jesus for a few reasons. First, he seems to do the miracle with some righteous indignation towards those who were lacking in compassion towards the paralyzed man. Jesus shows both compassion for the man as well as frustration with the skeptics in the very same miracle.
Second, this miracle connects itself to the holistic redemption of God’s people. When Jesus said “your sins are forgiven” he was not only talking about personal and private wrongdoings, he was making a statement towards all of Israel that her exile was coming to an end. It was long understood by the teaching of the prophets that Israel’s exile was partially a consequence of the sin of the entire nation. The gospel of Mark is letting the reader know that Jesus is claiming to be the redeemer of Israel from the ultimate exile. Exile of the heart.
Third and finally, this miracle story reminds me that God is always doing something amazing even when I don’t notice. Verse 12 says, “This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’” Just because the people hadn’t seen anything like this, didn’t mean that God hadn’t been doing this before. As we read the whole Scriptures we see that God has always been in the business of healing and redeeming. For various reasons, we get distracted whether it’s by our own pain, rebellion, lack of focus etc. But thanks to God and his grace, we are invited to keep having our eyes opened to see what amazing thing God is still doing today.
Even in the midst of a world fraught with pain and tragedy,
May we grow in amazement at God’s ongoing compassion for all people,
May we grow in amazement at God’s dream of redemption for our world,
May we grow in amazement to what God is doing today right before our eyes,