It always feels like a bit of an accomplishment when we get to the end of a sermon series at church. I think it’s something worth celebrating and giving thanks for – and so, on that note, what a great time we’ve spent going through the first half of the book of Mark this term! I don’t know about you but I’ve seen plenty of things about Jesus that I hadn’t quite picked up before, and been have been hit afresh with the truth of how complelling he is. Last Sunday is a good example of that; one minute Jesus is making provocative comments to a foreign woman, the next he’s healing a deaf man and showing gentleness, the next he’s feeding four thousand people and displaying incredible power.
One thing I didn’t mention on Sunday as we went through this story was how twice we see Jesus ‘sighing deeply’. Once in healing the deaf man and once in responding to the Pharisees. I wonder if these came up in discussions in your growth group this week? What I find odd about Jesus’ sigh with the deaf man is that it seems completely out of place. He’s about to heal the man – an excited giggle would seem more appropriate, but Jesus turns towards heaven and sighs deeply. Why? What’s he feeling at the time to make him sigh? Of course I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that as we’re seeing Jesus helping people, he’s continually being reminded of the real healing that he’s going to bring about. The healing of our hearts, the forgiveness of our sins. And Jesus perhaps sighs, because he’s being reminded of what he’s going to have to go through to bring that healing about.
We’re going to see this Sunday that Jesus is about to annouce to his disciples why he’s really come. He’s come to forgive sins, to pay the penalty for our sins. And to do that he’s going to have to go to the cross. It’s a major turning point in the Gospel of Mark and a helpful turn for us to look at this week as we head towards our Easter celebrations the weekend after. It should be a great couple of weeks together.
Thanks for being with us on this journey through the first half of Mark this term,