Jesus was on a whirlwind mission, it seems that he rarely had a moment’s rest. As with today’s reading, he’s barely home again, and multitudes gather, anxious and even impatient to witness the miraculous. This was the focus of the crowds — they were merely seeking entertainment, or looking to see what they could get. But, as we’ll see, some had a more nefarious agenda.
A friend of mine once gave a homily where he characterized the multitudes who followed Jesus as simply looking for a “free lunch.” Many scholars characterize Mark’s presentation of Jesus’s ministry as the “secret Jesus.” The premise is that Jesus didn’t want the populous to know who He truly was. Though this theory is largely discounted today, It kind of makes sense. In His miracles and preaching Jesus was preforming prophetic acts, that the religious leaders of that day should have recognized as signs of His divinity — which clearly the Scribes in attendance didn’t recognize.
Why couldn’t the religious leaders of that time simply rejoice over the good and miraculous acts being done in their midst?
Though, I am in no way equating President Trump to our Lord, Jesus, there are some striking similarities to how the two of them were treated. You see, those in political power are ultra protective of their positions. Anyone who brings a contrary message, or doesn’t tow the party line is immediately considered a threat, and must be eliminated.
Though Jesus wasn’t quite as secretive in this instance, the Religious leaders in attendance certainly didn’t get the memo. They didn’t understand, the didn’t have a clue that they were in the midst of the savior of the world.
Jesus understood the attitudes of both the religious rulers and the masses who followed him. He knew that the hearts of the religious rulers were hardened, and the self-serving mind-set of majority of folks following. Even among His closest followers, their true faith didn’t really kick in until after the resurrection. Peter denied Him three times on the eve of the crucifixion, and all but one were absent while Jesus was listening to these same fickle crowds yelling “crucify him,” then suffered and died on the cross.
No, the people who were thronging to get close to Jesus, didn’t really understand either — all they were interested in was a free lunch, so-to-speak, and Jesus is off to his next controversy — jigity jig.
GOSPEL -- Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”