Scripture: Lectionary 309. I Sam. 8:4-7. 10-22. Psalm 89:16-17, 18-19. Mark 2:1-12
One of the key points in understanding the theology of Mark and the person of Jesus is “to think the thoughts of God and not of humans.” Several times during his short sixteen chapters, Jesus confronts his disciples with that principal of a disciple’s relationship with God. They often need to come back to that leading point of view of Jesus and Mark.
Likewise, in our first reading from the Book of Samuel (I Sam 8) we realize that Samuel is confronting the Israelites about their thinking only along the lines of other nations. They want a king who will win wars for them and make them prosperous in their land and mighty among the nations. Samuel’s efforts are foiled and they are to have a king. He will look strong physically but we will come to see Saul as a very weak person psychologically and religiously.
A verse from the Psalm helps us to appreciate the correct viewpoint for both Mark and Samuel: “For to the Lord belongs our shield, and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.” God is to be the true leader in Israel’s safety and salvation. Only Samuel, the Lord’s prophet, seems to be thinking the thoughts of God and shouting them out to the people who continue to be ruled by a king. They reject the words of God and those of Samuel. We will see this difference in point of view in the confrontations that Samuel will present to Saul.
In Mark’s Gospel for today we see four friends of a man who cannot walk but is helped by their desire to get him to see Jesus in the house where he is. They open up the roof and let him down on his stretcher. Then we see the eventually faith of the four is in Jesus healing their friend. Those friends were certainly thinking the thoughts of God to have such faith and make such an effort to be in the presence of Jesus. Jesus challenges the others who are there by raising the question, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? The others just are amazed after they see that Jesus does both without any hesitation. His power comes from within for he is always thinking the thoughts of God, his Father. Those who brought the man in front of Jesus were praised by him for their outstanding faith while those who doubted he could forgive sins were those not able to think the thoughts of God. The narrative is calling us to bring ourselves into the presence of God and to receive the forgiveness of our sins as well as to be healed of any infirmity we have. Trust and the humility required are our prayer for today. Amen.