As we conclude our week, this is a brief moment to recap, by reflecting on the final half of the last verse of our week: ‘This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”’
Three times in this opening section of Mark, the people are ‘amazed’ – by Jesus’ teaching (1:22); by his command over the unclean spirit (1:27); and here, by the dramatic healing of the paralysed man (2:12). They can’t help but praise God, and cry out that they’ve never seen anything like it.
I want to keep being amazed by Jesus. I’ve been a Christian a long time, and seen many wonderful things. Jesus has changed my life so much – but, sometimes, I can lose sight of the wood for the trees. I can forget all the Jesus has done, I can let the amazing become… well, commonplace, unremarkable. I can domesticate my faith, even let it shrink.
Mark wants us to start our understanding of Jesus by being amazed by him. The intensity of his narrative creates this sense of wonder, as Jesus moves from one thing to the next to the next to the next, all with authority (the other ‘a’ word we see a lot in this opening section).
Take a moment today to put yourself in the crowd – perhaps re-read the opening section of the gospel in one go. Let yourself be amazed again. And may all of us keep being amazed by ‘the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God’ – and may that, too, turn out hearts to joyful praise. There is simply no-one like Jesus.