“Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.” (Mark 1:30–31 ESV)
“And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.” (Mark 1:34 ESV)
One of the things that frustrates us as we experience the modern world is the sense that it lacks basic fairness. We are convinced [correctly it turns out] that there is a playbook for the 1% and then a playbook for the rest of us and these playbooks are not the same. Rich people–with the help of an expensive lawyer– seem to be able to escape justice. Bankers, by their greedy actions, implode the financial system only to be bailed out by the Fed and allowed to continue on at the same game by which they brought the economy to its knees. Our broader world is not impartial when it comes to money and the use of power.
I am certain that one of the things that attracted the masses to Jesus and his message was that he was unbiased and equitable in the way that he handled all the people with whom he interacted. We have an excellent example in the first chapter of Mark.
Jesus has the power to heal whomever he wants to heal. We see him tenderly healing the mother-in-law of one of his first disciples, the impetuous Peter. She has a fever, he takes her by the hand and lifts her up and the fever leaves her. So thoroughly and completely is she healed that she immediately begins to serve Jesus and his disciples. Don’t we in some sense expect Jesus to act this way? Peter was a disciple, he probably knew Peter’s mother-in-law, and even if he didn’t, she was connected to him by Peter. Of course he would heal her.
What is radically different in this passage and the thing that stands out is what Jesus does next. The evening falls, the Sabbath comes to a close, and suddenly everyone in the village is coming out to see him and bringing along their aches and pains, their fevers and diseases. Jesus doesn’t know them; they are all strangers. What does he do? He heals “many who were sick with various diseases.” He doesn’t differentiate between rich and poor, between male and female, between disciples and non-disciples. He heals those who come.
The Fed and the government and the wealthy and powerful might learn a thing or two by studying Jesus’ life; indeed the poor and the oppressed and the 99% could learn something also. Jesus lived the one truly color/wealth/economic status-blind life in all of history. He interacted with you based on what you needed the most at that moment. When you came to Jesus you came as an individual to whom he wanted to communicate this: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (1.15)
Jesus love and compassion and the gospel itself [the good news that Jesus came to die for sinners] are given freely without regard to race, color, creed or social status.