Mark 1: 40-45
There are a number of these healing miracles in the gospels, variations on a theme. Sometimes Jesus touches the person—Jesus takes Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and she gets up, fever free, and gets a meal on. Once he made mud out of saliva and put it on the eyes of a blind man. Sometimes he heals from a distance—the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter. Sometimes he uses his voice—“Lazarus, come out!” Variations on a theme.
All these healing miracles do have one thing in common: all the people died–of something. The Bible doesn’t have follow ups to these miraculous healings, but, we presume, even Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter—raised from the dead—both died of something later. These healings and raisings were temporary reprieves.
So, why did Jesus bother? Out of compassion, surely, as the gospel today states. And possibly as a sign, as a sign of another kind of healing. And that is the healing, the complete and total healing we will know only in death.
Resurrection is the ultimate healing event. There are lots of dyings and risings in this earthly life, but the big one, the really big one, is still out there ahead of us. In a sense, in a paradoxical way, the ultimate healing touch of Christ, the ultimate healing miracle, is accomplished in our death. The great and terrible paradox at the heart of the Christian mystery is that the kiss of death is the kiss of life.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,” sings the Shulamite in the Song of Songs [1:1]. O God, kiss us with your great and terrible kiss of life–someday. But today, a little peck on the cheek will be enough.
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