Three steps that could change your life – Monday, 5th Week in ordinary time – Mark 6:53-56
The disciples have seen the Lord calm the sea not once but twice and this time he walked on the water to them. They have now landed in Gennesaret. Gennesaret was a district on the Northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee that covered about four square miles. It was home to the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin, places where Jesus frequently ministered. Gennesaret translates loosely as the ‘garden of the prince.’
The text of today tells us that the disciples have now moored their boat and scripture tells us that ‘at once’ people recognized him and ‘rushed about the whole region’ bringing to him the sick on mats to where ever they heard he was. The mats on which the sick were brought were called krabattois. These were the mattresses commonly used by the poor and right away we understand the desperation that poverty brings to our lives and the love of a saviour who desires to heal us.
Where ever Jesus went, the crowds followed and brought to him those who were sick. They placed them in front of him; be it at a farm or in their villages or cities and even in the marketplace (6:36). They begged that they might touch him or touch the fringe of his cloak. This fringe is probably the fringe or tassels worn by Jewish men in compliance with Torah to remind them of God’s commandments (Numbers 15:38-39; Deuteronomy 22:12) thereby marking Jesus as an observant Jew, concerned with obedience to Torah law.
Scripture tells us that all who touched him were healed. The RSV Bible translates the Greek word ‘sozo’ as ‘healed’ in our text. Yet, sozo also translates as saved. As anyone who has survived a serious illness knows, to be healed is to be saved, not only from death but from suffering and incapacitation, which can be even worse than death.
But how does all this tie in with our lives today? We are all in need of healing. While some of us may be blessed with physical health, our soul or heart or head may not. We need to ‘recognize’ the Lord like the people in the text of today did. Recognizing him means that we acknowledge who Jesus is and what he alone can do for us. The Pharisees and the religious establishment knew where Jesus came from and who his family was but they did not ‘recognize’ him as the saviour.