Gospel of Mark, Lent

Right in Front of Us (Mark 3:1-12)

Here’s the thing about stories where Jesus heals someone.

Those of us who are living with unhealed and unheal-able ailments, injuries, or disabilities find these stories hard.

And this story about the man with the withered hand is a particular non-favorite at my house because of a permanent hand injury for one of us and ongoing hand disability resulting from RA for the other one of us. So we can joke about the things we drop and spill, but it would be handy, pun intended, if we didn’t need to do so.

You may have an unfavorite Bible story, too.

When they come up in the lectionary, we preachers may lean toward the epistle or the Old Testament reading for the week. I had to write about Matthew’s version of this one not too long ago for Present Word, a Sunday School curriculum for adults. Blessedly, the focus was justice vs. legalism rather than miraculous restorations.

I wonder what we would do if Jesus showed up today and started healing our hands, or our backs or knees, or our hearts and our spirits? Would we argue about where he did it? Would we tell him he was in the right place at the wrong time? Would we accuse him of showing up in a crisis just to get attention for himself?

I’m still thinking about Emma Gonzalez today, and the people who called her a “crisis actor,” and our cultural incapacity to see goodness where it is so obvious. We’re more like the people who tried to stop Jesus, because we cannot understand what is right in front of us.

Lord, the people could not see who you were. I like to think I would recognize you, but maybe I wouldn’t, either. I’m looking for you now. We need you. Amen.


I’m reading and blogging about Mark for Lent. Want to read along? I’m using the Common English Bible because it messes with my expectations of familiar passages. I am also referring to NRSV-based resources including The Jewish Annotated New Testament, the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, as well as the online Greek interlinear Bible. Tomorrow I’ll be reading Mark 3:13-35. You can find the full schedule here, including links to earlier posts.

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