I am working on our 5th installment of Mark’s Gospel for this coming Sunday, when we’ll study Mark 1:35-45. This passage contains several intriguing features, but the first thing I noticed this morning was the correlation with last week’s passage, Mark 1:21-34. In the text we’re looking at this week, just as in the text we studied last week, we see Jesus extend His hand to bring healing.
First with Peter’s Mother-in-Law:
And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
Then, with a leper who begged Jesus to make him clean:
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
After last week, it is impossible for me to see Jesus extend His hand toward someone without thinking about the fact that Jesus Himself was and is God’s hand extended to you and me. Just as Jesus reached out and took someone by the hand, or stretched out His hand to bring healing, God was (and still is) reaching to us through Jesus to bring reconciliation. Indeed, God extended His hand to us when Jesus extended His hands for us. This simple movement of the arm and hand of Jesus, reaching to bring healing, points to the over-arching mission of Jesus’ incarnation, death, and resurrection; a rescue mission by God, saving His lost and broken image-bearers.
The hands that cooled the fever and cleansed the leper bore the scars that heal my sins.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!