Mark 9:14-19

When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”

Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.”

He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” Mark 9:14-19

Notice that no one answers Jesus’ question. It was obvious that the scribes (experts in religious laws and social culture) were arguing with the disciples (followers of Jesus) who were not included in the hike to the top of the mountain. The argument was strenuous enough to draw a crowd. So Jesus asks them, “What are you arguing about with them?” They don’t answer.

Instead, a man calls out from the crowd that he has a very sick son who needs help. This isn’t a new problem. The man is desperate, and Jesus’ followers weren’t able to help.

Why? Maybe because they spent their time arguing instead.

Then Jesus asks a question of his own. Irritated to see people who ought to have known better wasting their time arguing with one another, he asks, “How much longer must I be among you?” That question doesn’t get answered either.

Instead, Jesus tells the father to bring the boy to him.

Today the number of deaths from Covid 19 will pass 100,000 people. Most of us now personally know someone who has died. On the one hand, there has been a whole lot of arguing going on. Lots of blaming and blame shifting. Lots of “Yeah but whataboutism” going on.

On the other hand, the family and friends of over 100,000 people are grieving the loss of loved ones, many of whom died with no one beside them but the courageous hospital workers who cared for them to the end.

While privileged people like me sat at a computer or used my telephone from home instead of my office, others put their game faces on and went to work in hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, mailing centers, delivery services, construction sites, police stations, and the list goes on.

Where would Jesus direct his attention? Would he be any less impatient with our incessant arguing?

Let us pray: Lord, direct our attention today to those who are sick and their loved ones who are desperate that they get help. Push us past and through our self-centeredness. Make us far more mindful of WHAT is right rather than WHO is right. For in that, we will more clearly see through your eyes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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