The text this week is Mark 1:29-39. This starts off with Jesus doing a very familiar thing, healing someone in need. As always Jesus meets us at our need. In this case He heals Simon’s (Peter) mother-in-law. It is always difficult to resist poking my good Catholic brothers and sisters with this tidbit; that the first pope was married.
What is more important is that Jesus touches someone who is technically “ritually unclean”, and a woman to boot! Jesus does not let this stop Him from helping those in need. Another reminder that Jesus has special concern for those whom society too often marginalizes. It is not surprising that Jesus is then presented with a veritable parade of those who need healing. Once words gets out that the Healer is in town the line gets long quickly.
In the meanwhile, Simon’s mother-in-law begins to serve Jesus. Some translations use the word “wait”. Many can take this to mean that the place of a woman is to serve men. I would not take it that way. It has been pointed out that the Greek word that Mark uses for “serve” is diakonein, which is a word used to describe serving in a ministry (not that there is anything wrong with anyone waiting on another, especially our Lord). The lesson from this woman is that she has responded to the gift that Jesus gave her by turning around and serving and spreading the Good News. The lesson for us is obvious.
Relaying it Forward
This brings us to the point of the title of this piece. Jesus, after healing many, goes off in solitary prayer. When He is found He is told that “everyone is looking for you” (Verse 37). Yet, instead of returning to the long line of those wanting His touch, He tells the disciples that it is time to move on and spread the good news even more widely, for “That is why I have come” (Verse 38).
Jesus implicitly trusts those who have heard the news and received the gift of grace upon grace to relay the news forward in service to Him as Lord. The earthly Jesus cannot be everywhere all at once, so He needs the disciples to play their part and spread the news. This is our takeaway from this passage. The baton has been passed to us in the great relay of ministry that is the Christian faith. We too have been healed and received the same grace upon grace that Jesus gave directly to Simon’s mother-in-law. Like her, it is now our role to spread the good news in thought, word, and deed. Like those who directly encountered Jesus, our joy is to believe, then obey.
Praise Be to God