Did I Notice?

July 15, 2022

When you live with someone for a period of time–whether a spouse or your children, whether a long-time coworker or a college roommate–you can grow accustomed to how they act and how they look. As that familiarity grows, it becomes increasingly easy to not notice little changes.

Heading off to class, hurrying along with your roomie, another student comments to your roommate: “Hey, I like what you did with your hair! That shorter style looks great on you!” And you pause and look and then say, “Oh! I hadn’t noticed. Did you get your haircut?” With a smile, your friend replies, “Yep! I got it cut yesterday.”

It is said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” But perhaps more common (and a bit less troubling) is that “familiarity can breed inattentiveness.” That can happen as we settle in and become comfortable with those we do life with. But it can also happen when we open the Bible–our presumed familiarity with what we are reading can lead to inattentiveness. And that inattentiveness can leave us disconnected from what the Spirit inspired the text to do for us.

Jesus healed people; if you’ve read the Gospels or heard the stories, you know that. And such familiarity can inoculate you against really seeing and hearing what the Gospels tell us about Jesus. As an example, look at Mark 1: 29–31:

And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.

You might read that and think, “Well, of course. I know. Jesus heals people.” But did you notice the details? Or has your familiarity with Jesus left you overlooking what Mark reported?

Notice what Jesus did. Mark doesn’t simply tell us, “Jesus healed her.” He went to where Simon’s mother-in-law was, He raised her up, He took her by the hand. Don’t overlook those details. They tell us something about Jesus.

Notice what happened to her. The fever left her. And she waited on them. What does that mean? If you’ve ever been laid out with a fever or spent the better part of a day under the weight of a fever, how do you feel when the “fever breaks”? Most people aren’t ready to go once the “fever left.” But she was. This tells us something about what Jesus did.

Notice the details. Mark recorded them in for a reason. Don’t just (out of familiarity) tell yourself, “Of course! Jesus heals people.” Notice. And be impressed with Jesus.

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