Gather and Stay

Mark 2: 1-11 is the story of the paralytic being lowered through the roof.  And it starts like this. . . 

Jesus is in his home (see Matthew 4:13) in Capernaum with a packed house.  The community heard that he’s home and decided to show up as “he preached the word to them.”  

That is the beginning of this story. It’s details. It’s the setting.  A packed house.  A house so full that there is no room for others to make it inside.  A house so full that there is no room left even “outside the door.”  So imagine, the outside of the home and so many people are there just to BE there.  The ones outside cannot see Jesus, and possibly cannot hear Jesus, but they are present and they don’t leave just because they didn’t make it in.  It is as if there is hope for some interaction, some encounter to see or hear Jesus.  Maybe even just to say that they were close by when Jesus does something miraculous.  They stay. 

Today (or currently), he is just preaching.  Mark doesn’t tell us what he is saying, but what he is preaching is so captivating that those in the house don’t want to leave or loose their spot.  They stay.  

And I think that this setting is so important that we too, stay.  Let’s not move to the rest of the story.  I referenced the whole story in my introduction so that you would read it all, so that you would know what happens and anticipate the miracle.  But sometimes, we move through scripture so fast that we not only miss details, but we miss the amount of real time that in which the story takes place.  We move from verse to verse and action to action so fast that we miss what it must have meant for those who were present.  We focus on the characters who receive the words and interaction with Jesus, and we miss the extras.  We miss those standing around also in tune with spoken words of Jesus. We miss those who stay.  So, we stay with the first two verses of this story in Mark 2.  We stay with our minds picturing a home, packed.  

The people of Capernaum have been able to listen to Jesus already.  In chapter 1, Mark tells us that Jesus taught in the synagogue of Capernaum.   Mark says that He “taught them as one who had authority.”   Not authority that scares, belittles, or demands, but authority that amazed them.  
Authority that draws them in. 
Authority that brings them closer. 
This authority is different than what has been experienced.    Israel is a community that has seen war and turmoil. A nation that was ruled over by the Romans.  A called people that were in search of hope, peace, and fulfillment. Fulfillment of a prophecy and a promise that was soon to be revealed.   This community in despair hears one with authority and it brings wonder.  They cannot leave.  They stay.  

Jesus leaves Capernaum for a brief moment from Mark 1:35 to the close of the chapter.  In those few verses he travels through Galilee preaching in their synagogues and news about Him spreads so that “people still came to him from everywhere.”  Which leads the community to spread the news about his teachings “over the whole region of Galilee (Mark 1:28).”

Now take you mind back to Mark 2, “the people heard that he had come home.”  
Jesus home.  
He is home.  
They hear that he is home. 
We hear that he is home. 
You hear that he is home. 
I hear that he is home.  
So, we gather.  We gather together to see and to hear.  To catch a glimpse of what he will do.  To be a witness in what he says, to allow our ears to hear a proclamation of good news.  We gather, because we know his story.  We gather because of his authority, and we gather in expectation of what will happen next not just in Mark 2, but in our lives. 

May you hear the teachings of Jesus.  
May you gather with others to hear, see, and embrace the authority of Jesus our Lord. 
And may you stay.  Stay with expectations of what will happen next.

Written by: John Kimberlin, Youth and Family minister