Taking the view from a “wide-angled lens,” the first half of Mark 2 deals with two very different individuals. The first man is a paralytic with at least four close friends. Nothing is said about his family or his lineage. All that we know of him is that he is “a paralytic.” If you lived in that day you would probably have overlooked, perhaps pitied, this man. Or, you might have purposefully avoided him wondering what ‘sin’ he or his parents had committed for this malady to come upon him. His paralysis obviously kept him from gainful employment rendering him dependent on other people. It certainly was nothing like today where he might have received Social Security Disability benefits!
The second man that Mark writes about is Levi, the tax-collector. Now here is a man of means and influence, albeit in and from the wrong circles. He is known to the community because Mark identifies Levi as the son of Alphaeus. If you lived in that day you would probably feel the tightening knot in your stomach and the bile burning your mouth at the mention of the tax-collector’s name. It was not that they were not liked….it was more like they were despised!
Truth be told, both men were sick! Jesus engaged with both of these individuals restoring their health.
The third “person” common to these stories is represented by Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Who is this Jesus and who does he think he is to forgive sins? Who is this Jesus and why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?
What was so flimsy about the Law that it could be undone by righteous acts? What or whose dignity was compromised because Jesus reached out to the poor and lowly—to the compromised and lonely? You see, the Law had become a whipping board for those out of line, not a lifeline to the lost. The purpose of the Law ever being given to the Israelites became twisted and distorted over time.
Now…the Kingdom of God is at hand! The display of the power of the Kingdom of God is evidence of the authority given to Jesus by the Father. The inclusiveness of all sick people and the possibility of the healing for all was evidence that the Messiah was truly the Christ. He came to heal the sick, the blind and to set free the captive and the prisoner!
His Word today is a loving and inclusive word for all of us, for all of us are sick! “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus