Jesus Forgives and Heals
Open Your Bible
Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14-45, Mark 2:1-28
BY Yana Conner
Have you ever heard of Lectio Divina? It’s an ancient Scripture reading practice that invites you to read a passage four times as a way of meditating on and praying through Scripture. On your second pass, the practice prompts you to meditate on the word or phrase that resonates with you most. In today’s reading, that word for me was “immediately.”
Jesus called Simon and Andrew to follow Him, and immediately they left their livelihood and followed Him (Mark 1:16–18).
Immediately Jesus called James and John to follow Him, and they left their father and made Jesus their teacher (vv.19–20).
Immediately leprosy left the man who approached Jesus for healing (vv.40–42).
At Jesus’s command, immediately the paralytic whose sins Jesus had forgiven took up his mat and walked (Mark 2:1–12).
Here, in these phrases, we see Jesus immediately taking the initiative to bring His Father’s kingdom near and people immediately responding with surrender, awe, and even opposition. The narrative is in constant motion as Jesus teaches, heals, and forgives those who come to Him. However, it wasn’t Jesus’s activity in today’s reading that caused me to slow down and meditate on the word “immediately.” It is Christ’s seeming inactivity in my own life that causes me to stop and ponder, asking:
God, why does it seem like my life is in slow-mo?
Why have I not yet healed from past pain?
Why do I have to go to counseling to do the seemingly never ending work of change?
Why haven’t You healed my friend from chronic pain, depression, and night terrors? Is she not worthy of Your immediate compassion and relief? I know You can do it. Is it that You’re not willing?
And I’m not just frustrated with God. I’m also frustrated with myself. Why don’t I respond to God and His Word when He calls me to follow? I long for the immediate activity I see here in these verses.
Friends, I know I’m supposed to give you some encouragement or corrective truth that gets you through the day or the week. But, all I have to offer today is my confession of frustration with the seemingly slow pace of life and a hope in Jesus that, at times, is dimmed by the darkness that continues to loom on Earth. As I continue to meditate and talk to Jesus, I invite you to go back to today’s passage and do the same. Consider what in your life you wish would happen immediately. Draw near to Him with honesty, trusting He will comfort, correct, and respond to your longing in His good and perfect timing—even when the process of sanctification is slow.