Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
— Mark 2:11-12
There are many healing stories in Mark, and each one comes with a political commentary (usually critique) sandwiched in the middle of the story.1 Thus Jesus' healing events are intended to have us think about injustice. When we live under oppression there will be people among us who embody the oppression in one form or another. Here the lame man embodies the crippling of the peasant classes, which was done through taxation and debt creation with exorbitant interest rates leading to loss of lands, homes and ultimately a life of indentured servitude. Jesus' healing is simply to make it known that this doesn't have to go on, that the working people can stand up (literally) to the powers that be and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. The crippled man is the embodiment of the peasant class, the healing symbolic of God's kingdom coming to earth—the message Jesus came to preach.
When reading the gospel of Mark, maybe consider each of the healing stories in this light: the deaf hear, the blind see, the crippled are made whole and the dead arise. The real miracle in each of these stories is the miracle of hope, the miracle that through faith great change will occur. These are lessons so pertinent to our lives today, as we find our rights and freedoms being chiselled away, as the rich get richer through coronavirus and the poor get poorer. Faith gives us the power to stand up to injustice, to walk with dignity, to listen and tend to others, to not be afraid. It is healing of the mind we need—the body will follow.
1 This literary device has the structure A1, B, A2 and has come to be known as the "Markan Sandwich". A useful categorisation of all Markan Sandwiches, together with "toothpicks" (repeated phrases in A1 and A2) can be found in this anonymous article, Markan Sandwiches.