I saw the new Star Wars movie recently. Now, I think all movies are great creative works – they take a lot of creative energy to make. And I won’t give anything away, but I’ll say it has what the Star Wars movies have always had: the family theme. The first time that Star Wars became about family for me was when Darth Vader said those famous words to Luke Skywalker: “I am your father!” That’s how Luke could start to understand who he really was. Seeing his father face to face took him back to his beginnings.
The Gospel of Mark is the shortest Gospel, and so it also has the simplest theme: who is Jesus? It’s a secret the whole Gospel, except the reader knows. That’s because the very first sentence of the Gospel reveals the secret: Jesus is the Son of God. So, anytime you wonder about Jesus and who he is while you’re reading or listening, you just go back to the very beginning of the Gospel and there’s your answer.
There is the story in the that Gospel about the 4 guys that carry a paralyzed man and actually lower him through a roof of a crowded house where Jesus is preaching and teaching. After he gets lowered down, Jesus says to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mk 2:5) Now, let’s stop right there. A lot of words get overlooked in Gospel writings because they happened so long ago, but let’s stop there at the first word: Child. There are several words that can be translated that way that each mean something different. And in this case, the word has the emphasis on someone’s source and beginnings. Jesus is saying to the paralyzed man, “I am your father!” The paralyzed man is face to face with his beginnings. Now he can start to understand who he really is. He sins are forgiven.
But the scribes don’t get that. How can Jesus forgive sins? It’s that they can’t get back to beginnings, so they don’t understand. And they’re scribes, the people who write about the Scripture and religious teachings and are supposed to know those things and guide others in them. So, Jesus is going to take everyone back to the beginning: Genesis.
In Genesis, everything’s in chaos and then God speaks. And, amazingly, something happens. In fact, whatever He speaks, actually happens. That is what Genesis first shows us about God: whatever He says, happens. So, Jesus says to the paralytic to be healed and it actually happens. Jesus is saying, go back to the beginning and you’ll understand who I am. I’m the Son of God. Whatever I say, happens.
Confusions come up all the time in our lives. Whether it’s a relationship or job or any other aspect of our life journey, we can come to confusion and feel paralyzed. When that happens, it’s a good time to return to the beginnings of those things. Facing our beginnings can get us back up on our feet again, because it empowers us to do the most important thing.
To understand who we are.