This past week in class we began learning a bit more about the Four Gospels in “The New Testament”- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- in regards to their writing styles, the audiences to whom they were writing and teaching at the time, their varying relationships with the Savior Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, and other such factors that influenced the records they left behind which we read today in the Bible. While learning about these four different men, Mark especially captured my attention. He begins writing a little later (twenty years after the departure of Christ) and starts his account of the Lord’s ministry with His baptism, continuing from there. He serves to give a quickly-paced overview of the life of Jesus, hardly stopping to take pauses and give more explanation. His records were originally meant to be delivered orally, giving further reason to the running, fluid cadence of his speech. Brother Griffin, my religion professor, invited the class to experiment a little by first reading Mark’s account and then speaking it aloud in order to more fully appreciate this unique style of writing. This invitation, coupled with a recent invitation and promise given by President Russell M. Nelson in a Worldwide Young Single Adult Devotional in January that if we were to study the life and words and character of the Savior that we would have a decreased desire to disobey and an increased desire to keep the commandments, motivated me to learn more about Christ by reading the book of Mark. I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have learned so far and wish to share a small insight with you that had a great impact on me this week.
In Mark 1, we read about one particular experience in which the Lord visits the mother-in-law of Simon (Peter- one of the newly called Twelve Apostles) who lays in sick in bed. Verses 30 through 31 read, “But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon [immediately] they tell him of her. And he [Jesus] came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” I absolutely loved these two verses for the powerful, symbolic lesson taught in so few words. First, the Savior took no hesitation in going to rescue some struggling soul. This has always been and will always be the case. The Savior comes running to us when we are in trouble and extends His saving hand to all. In verse 31, it says that He “took her by the hand, and lifted her up”. This is very symbolic of the Atonement- the act of love that Christ performed for us by suffering for our sins and heartaches in Gethsemane, suffering death on the cross at Calvary, and resurrecting from the tomb on the third day. The Atonement has the power to lift us in many different ways- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. The Atonement has given mankind the gift of resurrection, meaning that every single person in the history of the whole world will be lifted physically from death and the grave and be lifted to God’s presence to be judged. The Atonement also lifts us from the dark places of our lives, whether that be a trial we are passing through or a mistake that ways us down. When we accept the outstretched hand He extends to us by deciding to repent, pray, fast, change, and start over, we are lifted.
What follows in this verse is absolutely miraculous; it reads that “immediately the fever left her”, meaning that she experienced immediate and complete relief of what she had been going through. Then “she ministered unto them”, meaning that she was able to impart of the change that had occurred within her to others around her. The Atonement of Jesus Christ brings immediate relief. I do not mean to say that all will be resolved the first time we ask for forgiveness or that a magical wand will suddenly make all our life’s problems disappear, but every time we choose to follow the Savior and draw closer to Him, an immediate relief will flow into our lives and there will be a peace that was not there before. We will feel a difference and be able to minister unto others, just as the woman in this account did. When we allow the Atonement to heal us, we are more able to serve those around us and help them to find the same comfort and saving grace in their lives. We can symbolically become the hands of the Lord by serving those around us and helping them to apply the healing power of the Atonement personally. I know that as we strive to come closer to Him, He will always draw near unto us, heal us, and enable us to rescue others in need.