SER # 6Xa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 7TH, 2021
TEXTS: MARK 1: 29 – 39
THEME: THE POWER OF GOOD NEWS
Jesus finds himself in a place of worship and engages with people in sharing of the gospel. Jesus heals the man who had evil spirit in him, and this bring some attention of who he was. Jesus wanted to introduce himself to the people not the demons introducing by pronouncing how they knew who he was. That is why he silenced them when they tried to claim their knowledge of him. The demons wanted Jesus to be seen in the perspective of the one coming to disturb people and operate outside the boundaries. We know that the demons were no match for Jesus and what Jesus could do and they knew that. But Jesus engagement with the people was important because his understanding of humanity and what they needed was above the demons’ scope. Jesus knew these basic truths when it came to humanity:
- Jesus never separated words and actions: Jesus knew words without action will have little effect in the lives of people. If for example, we talk about love we will need to show it in our actions. When we speak justice, let us show it in action. That why Jesus love for people was always manifested in the actions that followed. Out of the love for us he gave his life, for him to die so that we might live. That is action right there. Jesus looks at the hungry people and what does he do? He feeds them (Jesus feeds the five thousand – John 6: 1 -14 NIV). Jesus encounters sick people, what does he do? He heals them. Jesus heals the 10 lepers – Luke 17: 11 – 19 NIV)
- Jesus never separated soul and body: When our bodies are hurting our spirituality is affected. We use our bodies to respond to some of the acts of mercy and kindness. When people’s body are hurting, they are unable to serve God and people. We saw this in respect to Simon Peter’s Mother-in-law; when she was healed of her fever, she was able to attend to them. “A recovered health for a renewed service” says William Barclay in his commentary of St. Mark (The New Daily Study Guide: The Gospel of St. Mark).
- Jesus never separated earth and heaven: Jesus prayer was always for the will of God to be done here on earth as it was in heaven. This is part of the Lord’s prayer that we say often when we are gathered to worship. “Your Kingdom, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NIV).
There is danger in separating any of the above when dealing with humanity.
In our bible passage today, we can also draw the following faith lessons:
- Jesus is Never too Tired to Help: If we can record the events that took place in Jesus earthly ministry, we can easily conclude that when he was needed, he was always there. Jesus never allowed his human tiredness to take away his acts of mercy or kindness. We are reminded of when Jesus was sleeping under the boat and there was strong wind that was threatening the disciple and what he did. “Then they got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the Lake, so the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying Lord, save us! We are going to drown. He replied, You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8: 23 – 26 NIV). Jesus comes to Peter’s house tired, and still heals the mother-in-law. Jesus does not give excuses of being tired from all that he did in the synagogue but went ahead and healed the woman. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever; and they told Jesus about her at once. He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her; and she served them” (Mark 1: 30 – 31 NIV). Our joy today is that we know our Jesus is not tied to that human body that limited him while on earth. He is God. Our God is forever awake. We are reminded of this by the Psalmist. “He will not let your foot slip he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121: 3 – 4 NIV).
- Jesus Shares our: Joy, Pain, Hope and Fears: It is wonderful to remember that Jesus unlike humans promises to journey with us in good times, challenging times, lonely times even in times of happiness. We experience Jesus in many aspects of our life. Jesus promises to be present when we are at the times of: Joy; Jesus promises to join us at the times of joy and celebration as he joined his family at the wedding in the Cana of Galilee (John 2:1 – 11 NIV). When the couples had good times, Jesus was there for them. Jesus is willing to join you as you celebrate your child’s birthday, your marriage anniversary, your graduation, promotion, a major victory in life and the list can go on. Pain, Jesus joins un at the time of pain. We go through all kinds of pain in life. Pain of loosing a loved one, loosing a job, a friend. The pain could be physical emotional and even psychological. Whatever kind of pain you might be going through this time just know that the good Lord has promised to journey with you. This time of covid-19 we can count on the good Lord to walk with us. Hope; Jesus is our hope of Glory. We all have our hopes and wishes, and Jesus is reminding us that he will see us through them. Jesus was and is always a true companion and in all situation. Fear; though the bible reminds us of the word “fear not” I know that we harbor our own fears. A mother/father is afraid of losing a child, a husband or wife has fear of losing a spouse, we have fear of having a permanent damage after an accident. There are all kinds of fear that surround us, and Jesus is reminding us to today is, “I will be there for you.” He was there for Simon to heal the mother-in-law and he will be there for you no matter what you are going through.
- Recovered Health for Renewed Service: When God heals us from any kind of sickness may it be physical, emotional psychological and we can name more, we are invited to a new self. “Recovered health for renewed service.” When God bring us back to be a father, a mother, or a spouse, a daughter, or a son, we are supposed to commit the new energy in doing that which is good otherwise we fall back. I heard testimonies of people saying how now they dance for Jesus using all the energy they used to dance at the night clubs, people giving their resources for God’s work what they used to spend on not very useful things. If you follow the work of Jesus in the bible you will quickly notice that people he healed were ready and willing to testify, to follow, and to serve God. When their lives were changed, they always wanted to make a difference to the world. One great Scottish family used to have a motto that said, “Saved to serve.”
- Prayer is Essential for a Believer: Jesus knew the place and the importance of prayer in his own ministry. We can borrow some truth in what he did and how he did it. One, seek the Lord before you get too busy. When people are busy with life, they tend to forget to find time to pray. But Jesus in our passage story today he withdrew from all the business and spend some time in prayer. Unless we make prayer as part of our business it will be left out. I have this theory that has worked for me which I do not know if it can work for others about money. In-order to save, I need to include the amount I wish to save on the expense column that way when I look at the bottom even when it read zero, I know I have some savings. We need to seek God often not occasionally when things are not working right. Two, withdraw to help you focus. Jesus knew that he needed to focus on what was ahead. The one way to do that was to withdraw from the regular business and focus. Some of us need to wait until the children are asleep then the sit and focus. Others have taken a day or hours off work to get time for prayers. Others have used their lunch break or tea break to get focused. Whatever works for you do it. When weather is good some have taken a nature walk, what will get you focused just do it. Prayer is the fuel for a believer on this journey. Some have been living on low for such a long time, others their prayer gauge is always on E. Someone told me one time the E means enough not empty. I do not know what your E stands for. Prayerless life is like keeping driving your car when the gas gauge is reading E. You will not get too far before everything stops. Three, set your priorities. This means we must train ourselves to pray on regular basis. We can’t wait to pray only when we are in trouble, but we must be people of prayer. When we pray, we are appealing to God to listen to our joys and concerns that we might be facing. Prayer does not have to be composed of many word or paragraphs, but a prayer must be sincere, honest and truthful. If you are paining or hurting let God know do not pretend. Let God know how you are feeling. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).