SER # 5Xa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
SUNDAY JANUARY 31ST, 2021
TEXTS: MARK 1: 21 – 28
THEME: JESUS HEALS A MAN WITH EVIL SPIRIT
Our setting today comes after Jesus has called some of his disciples to form the team. He goes to a town of Capernaum and as the tradition he attends the synagogue. Jesus finds himself in the synagogue teaching. The synagogues were used for teaching and instruction. They said prayers and read the word of God. There was no music or singing in the synagogues. Invited preachers could then do the exposition of the word. The Temple on the other hand was the place of worship and sacrifice. There was only one Temple and people were encouraged to go attend at least once a year. In the synagogue the leader was called a ruler that made sure was preacher and kept everything was kept in order. The scribes operated in the synagogue and made sure the word of God was correctly interpreted as well as setting down the rules and regulations. The rulers made sure that the alms collected was fairly distributed to the poor.
Whenever there were at least 10 Jewish families they could put up a Synagogue for them to have a place of worship.
As we read this passage today what lesson can we learn?
- Jesus goes to the Synagogue: By Jesus attending the Synagogue brings a very important lesson for us today. First, though Jesus was God who may not have needed to go and worship he did. It is the writer of Acts who reminds us the importance to meeting. In attending the synagogue Jesus was able to connect with people and to do the will of God. Days that he was not preaching he sat there and got blessed. The second, it reminds us that there is nothing like solitary Christian. A believer is part of God’s family and need to have the human connection and emotion. Tele-Evangelist do a good work, but they have no human emotion connection with the viewers. As you sit next to brother, James or sister, Catherine there is an emotion connection. As we exchange greeting in the morning to speaks and special message. I do realize that this model of the early church can’t work when dealing with pandemic like Covid-19. This pandemic is inviting us to do church in a new way. That why many of you are listening or watching from home or place of work. Church will still remain the center of fellowship.
- Jesus is the authority: It amazing to see how Jesus contrast with the scribes and other teachers of the Law. The bible says he preached with authority. He had the source of the message. Jesus is the authority himself and demons do recognize that and seeks to be let alone. We can therefore say that with Jesus all things are possible. Jesus is always with us today in our worship hence we can speak with authority. It was Jesus who was able to reach his audience with love, grace, and mercy. Jesus was speaking the word of God for he was the word himself. The people that lived during Jesus days they were able to experience Jesus compassion and empathy. When people came to him sick or having any kind of physical challenges, he never judged them but approached them with love and compassion. When you approach Jesus today just remember that Jesus care enough about you. It is in Jesus nature to love you no matter what you are going through. We are reminded that Jesus know who we are and our struggle. The evil possessed man knew who Jesus was and Jesus knew him too and he wanted the best of all that can be done at the time.
- Our authority is from God: Jesus has given you power and authority to continue with his work. When he was commissioning the 72 to continue his work, he gave them power and authority. Luke 10: 19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirit submits to you, but rejoice that your names are written in ” Today a lot of believers go around looking and feeling weak, yet the Lord has given us the authority to do great things. When we have the authority, nothing is impossible. When I think of authority, I am reminded of the authority that we see a trooper as the lights go on. When that light comes on behind your car, it does not matter the size of your car if you don’t want trouble you have to stop. The trooper might be driving a small Sedan car and you are in an escalate, truck, SUV or even a tractor, that does not matter because though your car has a powerful engine big body and submits to the authority. Now when the trooper comes out he or she might be smaller size in body and you might be two times bigger bit it does not matter she/he has the authority and you have to submit if you are not looking for trouble. This is possible because the trooper has been given the authority by the county, city, state or federal. We also have to remember that God has given us the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions of this life and we must do it without fear. There is a warning though, the authority we have does not come from the Pastor, or any church committee, or political leader but comes from the Lord himself. Let me read you a small bible story where the seven brothers thought that they could use authority from other people other than Jesus himself. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirit tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of of Sceva, a Jewish Chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you? Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding) Acts 19:13-16 The seven sons of Sceva got a real beating from the demons. Our authority is direct from God that is why when we receive this authority no one can stop us. This same authority can be traced to the church fathers who were able to do mighty things in Jesus name. we have church reformers like John Wesley, Martin Luther, Mother Teresa who have changed the church because of using this authority that God gave them. They achieved success not by their own might but through him (Jesus) who all things are possible.