But Jesus shares his authority
Mark 6:7, 12-13 Jesus called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits [and to heal all diseases, Luke 9:1]. … So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
I’m skipping ahead in Mark today, because of something that happened last night. We had an evening without other commitments, and Dave suggested we watch the second episode of the new Season 3 of The Chosen (we haven’t managed to accompany the episodes as they’ve been released). The episode is called “Two by Two.” It dramatizes this passage in Mark, Luke 9, and Matthew 13.
After Jesus gives his instructions to the disciples and is walking away, the “other James” follows Jesus and asks for a conversation. In Mark 15:40, this James is referred to by a word that means least, less, little, small. English versions translate this variously as James the young, the younger, the youngest, the less, the lesser, the little. In The Chosen, he is called Little James, and James the brother of John is called Big James. Additionally, Little James is cast in The Chosen as a man with a lame leg.
As I listened to the conversation between Jesus and Little James, I had goosebumps. I watched with my mouth open. Because the conversation could have been lifted straight from the pages of Karis’s journals. Clearly the script was written by someone who has been there, who has asked God the question, “Why haven’t you healed me? How can I heal others like—like this?” Jesus’s response is exactly what Karis records God saying to her, multiple times from her adolescence on.
To understand more deeply the impact of this for me, it may be helpful to know that all her life, since being born with a severe intestinal anomaly, Karis, Dave and I, and our family have been challenged by Christians who believe God only doesn’t heal because of sin and/or lack of faith. Therefore, Dave and I, and later Karis as she grew up, were exhorted again and again to confess the sin for which she/we were being punished, to confess our lack of faith, and to live our lives out of the belief she had been healed (i.e., stop seeking medical help for her, especially when her life was at risk, as “proof” of our faith). Make her get out of bed. Make her see this illness is not real; what is real is the health God promises every believer.
All of this is one of the main reasons Karis cites in her journals for wanting her story written down. She wanted believers to understand the deeper grace God offers when he chooses not to heal someone physically. “If God heals me—gives me a brand-new intestine—that story will make a big splash,” she wrote. “For a little while, many people will be excited. But quickly it will become old news. Instead, for as many days or years God gives me, I want to show people a different kind of grace—the grace that allows me to praise God even through my pain. The doors that open for me exactly because I am disabled. The compassion God has given me for all who suffer, with any kind of pain, whether physical, emotional, social, or mental. The joy greater than my circumstances that wells up from the Spirit inside me. That’s what I want people to see when they look at my life: not a ‘big splash,’ but the daily faithfulness of God, available to everyone, everywhere, in any condition of life.”
Karis’s journals, from age 9 until the week before her last coma, age 30
So, imagine how intrigued I was to hear Jesus’s words to Little James on the screen last night. You’ll find the conversation at 53:12-59:44 on Episode 2 of The Chosen Season 3, called “Two by Two.” I’ve transcribed it, but will wait until the next post to quote part of the conversation for you. I hope meanwhile you’ll take the time to watch it.
In fact, God did perform miracles in Karis’s life. Huge miracles that restored her again and again when the doctors told us (again) that this time there was no hope, from infancy on. But never “the big miracle,” the big splash. Her story is both bigger and deeper than that, to the glory of God.
At the end of the conversation, Jesus starts to walk away. Then he turns back and says to Little James, “Your healing will come. It’s just a matter of time.”
That is true for every one of us.