Friday, January 14, 2011

1/14/11 - Rise, Pick Up Your Mat, And Walk

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.”

My reflection is disconnected this morning and I don't have time to weave it together. :)
  • This is the first conflict with the religious leaders, who see Christ's claim to be able to forgive sins as blasphemous. Christ responds to that with a miracle to demonstrate his power and authority.
  • "Rise, pick up your mat, and walk." There was a time in my life where these words really spoke to me about the need to cooperate with God as we ask for his help. It was a time where I was fighting off depression, and really didn't have the will to do anything. I went to mass and heard this reading. I understood that for the paralytic to be healed, he needed to rise and walk himself. If he'd just lain there, nothing would have happened, He had to believe he was healed, and then get up and put one foot in front of the other. It's the same way with us.
  • Christ identified himself as the "Son of Man".  This is a reference to both his human nature, and his eternal kingship.  Here's more from the Catholic Answers Website.  
The phrase son of man is used in more than one way in Scripture. In Hebrew ben-adham would have been taken originally as a roundabout or poetic reference to a human being. The same is true in Aramaic. In fact, the Aramaic equivalent of the term (bar-nasha) still means man or human being in modern Aramaic.

Thus Ezekiel is referred to as son of man without it indicating that he was anything more than human. (Notice that Ezekiel doesn’t call himself Son of Man as if using a title; rather, the angel addresses him as son of man, as if speaking generically as a non-human to a human being.) Over time a secondary usage of the phrase as a messianic term developed under the influence of prophetic literature such as the vision of Daniel 7.

The fact that son of man originally was a way of saying human being suggests that even when the title acquired the use of being a reference to the Messiah that it still retained the connotation of pointing to a man. Thus it is fair to say that the title calls attention to Jesus’ humanity while—in light of Daniel 7—it also suggests his eternal kingship and messianic mission.