Sermon Text — Mark 1:29-39
February 8, 2015 — Epiphany V
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Mark’s gospel account the first chapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
He enters the House to get to Her Heart
Mark has set the stage for us. The Word of Jesus has authority. In the wilderness Jesus rebuked Satan. In the synagogue Jesus silenced the devil’s henchman. Now, the Word bears fruit in the home. Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever. She is burning up. And immediately they told Him about her. Told who? Told Jesus. Why Jesus? Because Jesus’ Words have authority. Jesus’ Words give Himself to those who hear. Jesus’ Words chase away Satan, silence demons, and rebuke fevers. They do what they say and work what He wills. And Jesus wills to heal. His healing is foretaste of the restoration of all flesh on the last day. His healing is the fruit of forgiveness. His healing is the stretching out of His Heart toward those whom He touches. This is what love does. Jesus is what love does. And so, being told about Peter’s mother-in-law Jesus takes her by the hand, lifts her up and the fever leaves. The Word made flesh has worked His wonders once more. And His wonders work in the heart of those who receive Him. Peter’s mother-in-law could not receive Him as a guest in her home until she first received Him as Savior in her heart. It might sound a bit corny, but look how things unfold. Jesus comes to her first. Jesus touches her. Jesus lifts her up. Jesus heals her. Jesus does all of the work and now, healed of the fever and restored to good health, the woman greets her guest. She begins to serve them all – Jesus and His disciples. God and her neighbor.
Everyone is Looking for You – looking for Something from You
After a while the crowds begin to gather together at the door. The Sabbath is over. The first day of the week is begun. And Jesus healed many who were sick and cast out many demons. Working His Wonders He left no one out, turned no one away. He never said no – “I am not for you.” Love is not like that. Jesus is not like that. Jesus is for everyone. Jesus is for you.
But with all of His working, with all of His miracles, Jesus was not able to preach. “Everyone is looking for you,” said Peter the next morning. But why were they looking for Jesus? Why are you looking for Jesus? Everyone is looking but everyone wants something different, different than what Jesus wants to give. These crowds come to Jesus for miracles, for healings, and exorcisms. They want Him to remedy their bodies. They are very much like us.
We are a people concerned about our bodies. We are a people obsessed with our bodies and the bodies of our neighbors. When the body goes wrong everything goes wrong. When the body hurts the whole person hurts. When the body is weak, the soul is distressed. When the body fails faith wavers. We have attached our well being, our happiness, our joy, our quality of life, to our bodies so much so that when the body needs treatment we neglect the soul.
We worry about our bodies.
We fret over our health.
We stress about our appearance.
We feel guilty about our diets
We’re ashamed of our weight. And so we go to great lengths to minister to the body. We join a gym. We run here and we run there. We eat this and we don’t eat that. We worry as much about the food going into the body today as the Jews did about eating a ham sandwich then. Everything about our life revolves around our bodies. And so when the body is threatened with suffering the first place we run to is . . . Jesus? No, the doctor. We run to the doctor and we pray to Jesus. But all we’re looking for is healing of the body. Our whole life is tied up in our body because the body has become an idol, one which we must repent of. For all of our idols will fail, even our body.
Everyone is looking for Jesus in our text so that Jesus can bless their bodies. And how does Jesus respond? He leaves town. He moves on. He’s come to preach and to teach because His preaching and teaching is good for the soul and what’s good for the soul is ultimately good for the body.
I have come to Preach
This morning Jesus has come into this house, His Church, to preach and to teach through His Word. It is through this word preached that Jesus comes to those who hear and He delivers those who believe from the perils of their sins and their idols. Jesus’ Word goes beyond the surface of the body. It cuts through bone and sinew and moves toward the heart. Jesus’ Word is given for your heart to believe His Heart. Those concerned about the body are not concerned about the heart. Those worried about their health are not overly anxious about their souls. But Jesus is! Jesus is concerned about your whole person. Jesus is come to save you – heart and soul by offering Himself, His heart and His Soul in your place, on your behaf. This is offered to you in His Word and given for you on His cross. Though we fuss and fret over the body’s well being, Jesus allows Himself to be handed over in the body.
Jesus surrenders His beard to be pulled,
His cheek to be struck,
His brow to be pierced.
Jesus extends His hands to be nailed.
His feet are fixed with iron
His back is striped with shards of glass and steel.
Jesus offers His whole person, body and soul, for the sins and idolatry of the world. That means He offers Himself on the cross for you. You are part of the world. The whole world includes you. You are not left out and neither is anyone else. That cross is for you, for your children and for all who afar off. That dead body is for your corrupt body. That blood spilt is for your tainted flesh. That life given is for your life to be renewed.
Thus the word that is preached is a crucified Word. There is to be no word known among us except Christ and Him Crucified for the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Why? Because this body didn’t stay dead! Jesus’ body died and was buried but Hedidn’t . . . stay . . . dead. He didn’t . . . see . . . decay. He didn’t . . . let . . . death win but risen from the dead He has conquered death for the world. The world includes you. You are not left out and neither is anyone else. His resurrection is for you and for your children and for all who afar off.
Finding Jesus in His Word
You who are looking for Jesus must find Him in the right place giving out the right things. To find Him you must listen to Him and for Him. Jesus is always where His Word is being preached and His sacraments are being given out. He is always found in His Word and Sacraments. These are found in His house, His Church, which has been built upon the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. And so, when you gather together – as we have this morning- your ears are to be listening for Jesus. Through His Word Jesus takes the attention your heart gives to your body and places it on His body. Jesus’ word is always redirecting your heart, calling you to repentance and faith in the gospel which is Jesus’ heart for you.
This is how Jesus works His wonders on the inside rather than just on the outside. He works through the ears to get to the heart. He speaks His Word to give you His heart. Through such a Word Jesus approaches anxious hearts in humility and meekness. He comes to soothe and comfort, to forgive and regenerate. He delights to speak His mercy into your heart and give His forgiveness to your soul. But Jesus is not just a “soul doctor.” He’s not a psychiatrist or psychologist. He’s not only concerned with your emotional well being. He’s here for your whole person. And so He gives His body and His blood to your body. And as with all of His gifts these come through His Word. Jesus links His Word to bread and wine, thus also His body and His blood, for you for the forgiveness of sins. Through this holy supper your savior strengthens faith and pledges within you the resurrection of the body. He ministers to your body and soul with Himself. Jesus is always giving out Himself through His Word and sacraments thus His Word and Sacraments are always to be received by faith. Faith receives Jesus and appropriates His gifts to the heart.
He enters the Heart
Beloved in the Lord, Peter’s mother-in-law was greeted by Jesus, raised by Jesus and healed by Jesus. Everything she received she received from Jesus. You are no different today. Jesus has entered this house and met you with your sins, your idols, your obsessions. Rather than walk away or cast you out Jesus has given you His Word and promises. He’s given you Himself so that having received Jesus you now are to be like this mother-in-law. You are raised up to serve in newness of life towards both God and your neighbor. You’ll notice that Peter’s mother-in-law began to serve “them” not just Jesus and not just her neighbor but she served “them.” She served much because she loved much because she was forgiven much.
Therefore, beloved, direct your heart to Christ and not your own body. Behold Him for your salvation serve Him as you serve the least of these His brethren. For Jesus has united Himself to humanity in such a way that serving our neighbor we are also serving Jesus. Such service is one of love. Love serves because we have been healed. We have been forgiven. We have been raised up unto newness of life – a life centered on the preaching and teaching of Jesus. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!