MARK 1:29-39/ISAIAH 40:21-31/1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-27
JESUS BRINGS A DAY OF INCREDIBLE HEALING!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To the Church of God at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, saints by calling, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:2-3).

And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever and immediately they told him about her.

The man in the unclean spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum had been healed by Jesus. When that service was ended Jesus and his disciples immediately gathered in a nearby home - the home of Simon and Andrew. It reminds me of the good way families and friends at Luther Memorial Chapel sometimes gather together after the Divine Service and Bible Study – to eat together and to visit.

At Peter’s house was his ailing mother-in-law. Peter was not the first Pope as that office is currently understood and he was not celibate as is currently required of the papal office and of those in the priesthood of Roman Catholicism. Peter had received God’s good gift of marriage. His wife’s mother, his mother-in-law was sick with a fever to such extent that she was bedfast.
 

MARK 1:29-39/ISAIAH 40:21-31/1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-27
JESUS BRINGS A DAY OF INCREDIBLE HEALING!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To the Church of God at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, saints by calling, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:2-3).

And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever and immediately they told him about her.

The man in the unclean spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum had been healed by Jesus. When that service was ended Jesus and his disciples immediately gathered in a nearby home - the home of Simon and Andrew. It reminds me of the good way families and friends at Luther Memorial Chapel sometimes gather together after the Divine Service and Bible Study – to eat together and to visit.

At Peter’s house was his ailing mother-in-law. Peter was not the first Pope as that office is currently understood and he was not celibate as is currently required of the papal office and of those in the priesthood of Roman Catholicism. Peter had received God’s good gift of marriage. His wife’s mother, his mother-in-law was sick with a fever to such extent that she was bedfast.

The bedside of a sick woman was not really the place for a man to be in that culture. Nonetheless Jesus assumes the freedom of the house. As immediately as they told him about her just as quickly He made his way to her bed! This lady whose station and circumstances appear quite lowly - this one woman with the pains and burning fever of her illness - is precious to Jesus. He…took her by the hand and lifted her up and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. She doesn’t put on a show for herself or Jesus. She simply puts the kettle on. She does what she is given to do in that household. Food and drink do not serve themselves and she takes action for the others. She began to serve them.

Next week we will begin a study of the book of Ecclesiastes and what Peter’s mother-in-law does here is a joyful central theme of that book among a mess of other things. While our work merits us nothing, it is nonetheless work ultimately done for God. God’s gift of daily vocation is where the humble believer in Christ finds his or her joy. She began to serve them. And soon, Jesus began to serve others in a most wondrous scene at this house.

That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
When sun set the Sabbath with its rules and regulations came to an end. Right then, the home of Peter and Andrew was transformed into a medical clinic. Peter’s yard was like an overflowing waiting room in the doctor’s office.

The text speaks of various diseases. We know how various they can be. Then as now, there was arthritic pain and nerve damage and muscle cramps - then as now no shortage of blurred vision and memory loss and hearing loss – then as now no shortage of breathing problems and blood disorders and fevers and infections and injuries and strokes and cancers and heart problems. Most everyone ate organic food then but various diseases were nonetheless present and prevalent even as they are today. Consider the various diseases you know of in yourself and your family and circle of friends. Consider the suffering endured by loved ones now called from this life.

Would it not be a wondrous release for Jesus to bring a day of healing to your door – the way He did at Peter’s door on this day? Would it not be beautiful reason for joy and delight for Jesus to take the hand of your father or mother or grandparent or spouse or yourself as he took the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law lifting from physical ailments? Our bodies are in bondage in this sin-cursed world and they do need healing. Few things are as precious as freedom from sickness and God’s gift of good health.

The fading light of those evening hours of healing turned to darkness and Jesus eventually turned to resting. Then, on that first day of a new week - Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”

It is not surprising that everyone was looking for him in the morning. Wouldn’t we humans who schedule our medical appointments and who see specialists when referred and who might seek a second opinion and who would travel to the Mayo Clinic if insurance permitted it and if there was hope it would bring relief – wouldn’t we hunt for someone who could cure us with a word or a touch? No insurance forms to deal with. No multiple providers and billing agencies. No regimen of daily pills.  No experimental drugs. No side effects. No therapy. Just instantaneous healing!

The Greek word for search used here is very strong. It literally means they hunted Jesus down. They stalked Him like you would stalk prey with one purpose in mind. “Everyone is looking for you!”  And what town would not? Jesus had brought them a day of incredible healing. They thought this is as good as it gets. The disciples seem to concur – “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus responded almost as if He missed the point entirely! “Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.”  In Jesus’ view – His preaching trumps even His provision of earthly health. In Jesus’ view – His casting out demons is His greatest gift of healing.

Dear Christians, faith does not come through physical healings or the release from suffering. Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the speaking of Christ (Romans 1:16; 10:17). Jesus later denounced the cities where He performed most of His miracles, including Capernaum. He said, “And you Capernaum, will you be lifted to the skies? No you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you.”

Jesus had bestowed an incredible day of healing in Capernaum in testimony to His power over Satan and the ultimate gift of His healing forgiveness. However, that’s not the healing we sinners most deeply desire by nature. When pain is persistent; when weakness and bodily limitations increase; when death draws near; then questions concerning God’s care draw near as well. Isaiah expressed the heart’s unease in this way. “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God.”  In other words, God doesn’t seem to see my plight? Why doesn’t He act to heal me and reverse my fortunes?

The truth is that we can make an idol of the wrong Jesus in this way. We can hunt for a Jesus to fix our pressing problems, including our health problems – but not our deepest problem. Imagine someone being told by friends that they should try Jesus because He would help fix their job problems and financial problems and relationship problems and improve their mental and physical health. Imagine them reading some “how to” books and being more disciplined with some scriptural guidelines. As a result they end up having more success in the struggles of daily life. Like some count Buddha their friend and advisor and some count Confucius their friend and advisor, so this person counts Jesus their friend and advisor. But what happens when death comes and the Day of Judgment? If St. Paul is concerned lest after preaching to others he should be disqualified, our concern for the true gospel is not easily overdone.

Remember Jesus saying, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 7:21). Remember Jesus telling the 5000 who wanted to make Him king of their earthly needs to work for bread that endures to eternal life (John 6).

Beloved, the central message of Scripture is not Christ the helper or Christ the giver of success or Christ the money manager or even Christ the healer of my physical ills. The central message of Scripture is Christ crucified! That’s why St. Paul said, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”  That’s why, almost as if He was deaf to the people’s excitement, Jesus said, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”

That is why Jesus came out of heaven’s realm to be knit together in the virgin’s womb. That is why Jesus came out of the virgin’s womb – born in David’s town. That is why the man Jesus came out of His parent’s home and was baptized in the Jordan by John. That is why the Holy Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Jesus preached and preached and preached Himself all the way to the cross. There He shed the medicine of immortality – His holy, precious blood.

In that sacrifice He provided the greatest healing balm this world will ever receive. Yet Simon and those with him did not hunt for Jesus then, but hunted for a place to hide. There were no excited exclamations of then - “Everyone is looking for you” – only cursing exclamations of “I do not know the man.”

Then, in the darkness of another first morning of the week He rose again from sleep - from the very sleep of death, our death. He is now the provider of medicine so curative that the moment of perfect healing for you is the moment of your death – whenever and however it comes (as God has already appointed it). On the Last Day your body will be raised immortal and imperishable and beyond all sickness and pain forever.

Fellow-redeemed, our healing comes from Him! Jesus moved on from the people in Capernaum to bring His healing touch to you and to me and to this whole world of sin-sick people. “Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. This is the healing medicine He bathed you with in your baptism – driving out Satan. This is the healing medicine he prescribes for you to eat and to drink at His table today.   

He does care deeply about your health needs – your fevers – your pain – your weakness – just as He did for Peter’s mother-in-law. He provides for health needs today with physicians and hospitals and healing arts and medicines that earlier generations did not have in the same way. But the perfect healing of your body will be at the last in the resurrection of all flesh.

Risen from the grave, the living Christ continues His preaching mission to other towns - even the town of Shorewood this morning. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength…they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint – forever and ever.

In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a