EVERYONE IS LOOKING FOR THIS… WE RECEIVE THAT
Texts: Mark 1:29-39, Isaiah 40:21-31
Preched by Vicar Christopher Amen

For a day of rest, Jesus certainly had a busy day. First he preaches in the synagogue in Capernaum and casts out a demon. Then he makes a house call to the house of Simon and Andrew to visit Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. She had to miss the service because she was sick with a fever. Jesus comes to her bedside, takes her by the hand and raises her up. She feels completely better, the fever is gone.
EVERYONE IS LOOKING FOR THIS… WE RECEIVE THAT
Texts: Mark 1:29-39, Isaiah 40:21-31
Preched by Vicar Christopher Amen

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

For a day of rest, Jesus certainly had a busy day. First he preaches in the synagogue in Capernaum and casts out a demon. Then he makes a house call to the house of Simon and Andrew to visit Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. She had to miss the service because she was sick with a fever. Jesus comes to her bedside, takes her by the hand and raises her up. She feels completely better, the fever is gone. In our modern context, it’s as if she gets up, puts the kettle on the stove, makes some sandwiches, puts out some cookies, and serves her son-in-law and his friends, one of whom, Jesus, was kind enough to come and heal her.

What a nice account this is! How wonderful it is of St. Mark to write down and share this account. This is the Jesus we want to hear about, making everyone feel better. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus came to your house as you were ill and took you by the hand and you were healed. No waiting in the doctor’s office. No filing and haggling with the insurance company. No running to the pharmacy to get prescriptions filled, with more dealings with insurance. This is what the people of Capernaum wanted. The news spread like a wild fire that there was a free clinic, with no insurance, and a 100% ratio of success in healing. And the crowds came hunting Jesus down, they wanted to be healed immediately.

Imagine the scene, as the people heard about this healing. Those with a common cold, suffering from sinus headaches, those crippled by the aches of arthritis, those struggling for breath, those suffering from the darkness of depression, and the demon possessed - it must of looked like a regular trauma center at the hospital. And Jesus healed them. There was no ending to the amount sickness and pain, they just kept coming in. And Jesus was healing all of them.

The disciples were ready to take advantage of the opportunity. The crowds were going crazy, they were hunting him down, looking all over the place. And finally, early in the morning Jesus had gone off to a quiet place to pray. At what hour of the night it was, how much sleep he had gotten, we are not told. And Simon and those with him were searching and when they found him exclaimed, “Everyone is looking for you!”  In a matter of the one day, Jesus had become an instant celebrity in Capernaum! The excitement and fervor of the crowd could be compared to that at a UWM basketball game. The crowd was there, and they kept coming, and the disciples thought this was as good as it gets. They thought that this is why Jesus was here among them. The disciples appear to be right in step with the desires of the people. As they saw it, making people’s lives better physically was of the highest importance.

With things going how the people wanted, Jesus does a remarkable thing, he says, “Let us go to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” He left all those who still had diseases and were suffering and went on throughout Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. To sinful hearts that look first after our own wants and desires it seems as if Jesus didn’t get it. The people were coming, the place was packed, and more were waiting to get in. But Jesus wasn’t there to draw in as many people as he could at any means possible. His purpose wasn’t to be a crowd-pleaser. He was there to preach and bring the Gospel.

Physical healing is something people like, perceived miracles bring people in amazement. But preaching? Well, that’s another matter, after all who wants to sit and listen as someone as he stands up and preaches?  The people of Capernaum, the disciples, were concerned with other things aside from the Gospel. At times, we too get side tracked from the Gospel that is proclaimed week after week and look at other things. We look around and see how many are in attendance, we get caught up in various programs and activities of the church, or we get concerned only with the bottom line of the budget. But what about the gifts that Jesus brings each week in his Word and in His Sacraments? These are Christ’s gifts that bring us together. God’s Word is proclaimed, his forgiveness is given, and week after week you proclaim Christ, “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”

Often times, we expect the wrong things. We want quick fixes. We want to please the masses and do whatever it is possible to get people in. And people often look to God hoping to make them happy, healthy, and wealthy. But Jesus comes to deliver us from the grip of Satan. The reason that He healed so many in Capernaum was to call attention to the eternal healing of forgiveness that he brings.

The people of Capernaum did not seem concerned with the root cause of their sickness. That the body breaks down, that there is sickness, that there is death, is a direct result of all of man’s sin. They were happy and concerned with their physical healing. We too fall into this trap. We get concerned and only pray for healing when we or a loved one get sick. As we should pray for these things, as we pray for our daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer and our physical well-being is a part of this. But we also pray, “Thy will be done.” The people of Capernaum expected and came to Jesus for their physical healing. This physical healing is to be a sign that points to Christ’s healing for our sin.

Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? All the Scriptures point to God’s grace. Grace that is given through the promised Savior, promised since the fall of man, the one proclaimed through the Psalms and the Prophets. The One who was in Capernaum to preach, came giving God’s grace through his death and resurrection.

Dear redeemed saints at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, what God has promised and given from the beginning is not Christ on demand the Physical Healer, not primarily Christ the Success Giver, and not Christ the Money Manager. Given and shed for you is Christ the crucified! Jesus became human flesh preaching that the Kingdom of God is here, that He brings God’s kingdom to us. Jesus preached until he was silenced by the religious authorities, and even under trial He preached. He preached all the way to the cross. The cries were not “Everyone is looking for you!” but were “crucify him!” And everyone stood there looking at him in his shame and suffering and death. And while he hung there on the cross, he continued to preach saying, “Father, forgive them,” and to the thief on his side, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

That is where your healing comes from – from the blood that flowed from Christ crucified. There will be times when it seems as if things are not going as we think they ought to, as Isaiah expresses, “Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.” Maybe that big job promotion didn’t come in the midst of a struggling economy, you wonder if you will able to be able to buy that dream house or car, or maybe that relationship that you thought was finally the one didn’t quite work out. And there is the matter of all our sickness and infirmities. But in the midst of all these things, the comfort and healing comes from the eternal treasures that are given and shed for you from the side of Christ the crucified!

Simon’s mother-in-law would grow weary and die. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John would faint away and die. All those diseased and demonized people in Capernaum that Jesus healed died too. And you and I will one day wither away too. But the healing of God comes to us from the crucified body and the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. Risen from the grave Jesus continues his preaching to you today. Through his death and resurrection, “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has 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.” He sits by you, takes you by the hand and raises you up from the grave, because you have been given true healing – forgiveness and life. This is your eternal future, given to you in the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.