Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2005
Amazing Miracle Worker
[Title] Amazing Miracle Worker
[Texts] Mark 1:21-45, Mark 2:1-21
[Use] April 9, 2005
Death has been the focus of the news media even more than usual this past week, as three high-profile cases have occupied headlines.
The first is the death of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who was allowed to die after her feeding tube was removed late last month. The fate of Schiavo, who court doctors determined was in a persistent vegetative state, had been hotly contested by her husband Michael, who believed she would not have wanted to be kept alive artificially, and her parents Bob and Mary Schindler, who believed there was a hope for her recovery. Although the vast majority of similar cases are settled quietly and in private by the families involved, this case received widespread media attention after repeated court and governmental interventions.
The second death to feature prominently in headlines this week was that of Pope John Paul II, who lead the Roman Catholic Church for more than two decades. The 84-year old pontiff's health had been declining rapidly over the past few weeks. "Just 12 hours after he died on Saturday night, the great pageantry around the death of a pope began, with a huge public Mass in St. Peter's Square and then the first rites of John Paul II's funeral: The 84-year-old pope was laid out in Clementine Hall, dressed in white and red vestments, his head covered with a white bishop's miter and propped up on three dark gold pillows. Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow's ear, that he carried in public." 
Earlier last week, defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran passed away. "Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., whose fierce, flamboyant and electrifyingly effective advocacy in the O. J. Simpson murder trial captivated the country and solidified his image as a master of high-profile criminal defense, died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 67."  Although it was the aforementioned case that gained Cochran the most attention, he was most proud of a case in which "he won $4.5 million for a man found wrongly convicted of murder, a case [he] worked on for 25 years." 
In this week's lesson, Jesus touches those close to death. Though the first time Mark mentions Jesus raising someone from the dead isn't until later in his ministry, here he touches those who are dead to their societies or even their families. A few of these instances are public—the kind that would make headlines today—and bring much more attention to Jesus' ministry. Others, such as the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, are much more private.
Physically or symbolically, Jesus touched the lives of all of these people: the demon-possessed man, Peter's mother-in-law, the leper, the paralytic, and Levi Matthew the tax collector. Through touch, Jesus welcomed each of them into miraculous new life.
Will you let Jesus touch your life this week?
 New York Times
 New York Times
 Toledo Blade