Mark. My favorite gospel. Mark is brief, colorful, brilliant, and to the point.
“That evening at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door.” They were in a small town in the Galilee region at the house of Simon and Andrew. It began with Simon’s mother-in-law being cured. Then word got out and all the sick of the town were brought here.
I have been to the archaeological site that is believed to be Simon Peter’s house (in fact, some of you have been there with me! Others of you are about to leave with me in a few days and see this place! It is the remains of a house uncovered by archaeological digs where an entire church is built over the archaeological garden, suspended on steel beams, with a glass floor, looking down into the house. Extraordinary.)
One of the things I noticed is that houses of that time were fairly small – probably only 20 feet square, sometimes divided into two rooms, a common room, and a private room, where Simon’s mother-in-law would have been. It would have been tight. If Jesus was in there and a few of the disciples, and Simon’s mother-in-law, it was packed. In this very intimate setting, people are crowding around, peering in the door, looking in the windows.
There is another detail about this story that just makes me love Mark’s gospel. They left the synagogue and went to the house where Simon’s mother-in-law was. Here is the Son of God. Does he heal at the synagogue? No. The Temple? No. The courthouse or main street? No. At someone’s house. This is a savior who is interested intimately in us. He isn’t disconnected from his disciples. He isn’t shouting his message onto a big screen in a mega-church, meeting his thousands of worshipers virtually. No, he is going into their bedrooms. This is an intimate God who loves and cares for his followers.
This God is interested in wholeness and healing, in mending the brokenness of the world and giving hope to the hopeless. He is not in his ivory towers, but in a room that has declared him unclean to go back to the temple.
God has made a procession to the doorstep of the rejected, the afflicting, the oppressed. He wasn’t interested in judging or looking down on those who had “sinned”, for it was often thought that the physically afflicted had done something wrong to deserve this.
None of this hub-bub meant anything to Jesus. His only care in the world seemed to be to find the lost. To restore those who were broken. To build up that which was in decay. To seek out the lonely, the broken, the afflicted.
And he is still at work.
You want proof? He found you and me.