Read Luke 13:10-17 with your family.
Sometimes grown ups have been hurt by life so much that their body curls in on itself, their shoulders are rounded, the back is hunched and they hold themselves very tightly. As you can imagine, after a while walking like that, their bodies will be in a great deal of pain.
Jesus recognized the pain of the woman in our story and told her to stand tall. Jesus wanted her to let go of all the sad things that kept her hunched over. She trusted Jesus and for the first time in 18 years she stood tall and didn’t let the bad things control her.
When she did stand tall, Jesus was able to help her see how beautiful the world was, and how she should always stand tall.
The person in charge of the synagogue didn’t understand what had happened and thought it was another healing. When he complained, Jesus pointed out his hypocrisy and how in his keeping to strict rules, he was just as hunched over as the woman. He might have stood tall in body, but he still had a very narrow sight of what was important.
Jesus wants us all to stand tall and see the world around us. God’s world is good and beautiful, and the more we see and understand that, the more we can help others and take care of God’s creation.
Read Luke 8:26-39 with your family.
Sometimes when we read the stories in the Bible, they are very confusing and we want to ask more questions. Often those questions can be answered if we remember that the stories in the Bible happened in another time and place.
In today’s story, the ‘demon’ identified itself as Legion. In the days of Jesus, the only thing that was named Legion, was the Roman army, and each Roman Legion was thousands of men.
The hearers of this story for the first time would have recognized the demon associate itself with the hated Roman government and army. The hearers also would have known that in a town with the name Gerasene, a huge battle took place with a Legion in the Roman army invaded and killed all the young men in town.
In our story the demon not only represents the Roman army and its brutality, it also reminds the reader of all those who were killed and had their bodies placed in the tombs where the demon lived. At the end, they would know that Jesus had more power than the dead and the Legion, because Jesus was able to make Legion leave.
For people living under Roman occupation and wanting to be free of the Roman government and army, this was a story of hope.
Read Mark 10:46-52 with your family. This is the last story in Mark before Jesus heads for Jerusalem, where he will meet people shouting Hosanna!
The really interesting thing about this story is that Bartimaeus is the first person to call Jesus “Son of David”, and Jesus doesn’t tell him to be quiet. Earlier in the Gospel of Mark, whenever Jesus would be called something special, Jesus would always tell them to be quiet. However, Jesus does not tell Bartimaeus to be quiet. That is probably because this is what Jesus’ ministry has been heading towards, with all the healings and teachings and predictions of his death. If you continue to read the story in Mark, you will read about the cross and the Resurrection, all of which will happen within eight days of this meeting with Bartimaeus.
So who is the Son of David? Many of the Hebrew people believe that a person would come along to free them from the Romans, the Messiah. Some thought that person would be a warrior. Some thought there would be more than one person. But everyone who believed in the Messiah believed he would restore the kingdom of David and the Hebrews would be free to run their own country and government. As we know, Jesus had a very different way of being the Messiah.