Open Arms Call Now Contact Us Online Giving

Taking Jesus To Our Community

Sharing God's Word, Living His Love

Mark 1:29-39

February 4, 2024

When I was in high school my church decided to get new hymnals and Bibles for the pews. The old Bibles were placed in different classrooms for Bible studies, but the old hymnals were placed on a table outside the sanctuary for anyone to take. I took this old red one, which some of you may remember if you grew up in the Lutheran Church, and I still refer to it from time to time. I remember how nice the pews looked on that first Sunday when we had new green hymnals and black Bibles all lined up evenly and neatly. However, I remember opening a new hymnal before worship that day and finding something printed on the inside that I thought was a little odd. I then opened a Bible and noticed the same thing printed on the inside. I was sitting with a group of friends from high school that morning and we started laughing a little bit before worship, because printed on the inside of all the Hymnals and Bibles were the words: “Property of Brookfield Lutheran Church. Do Not Remove.” Now, I know what was meant by those words. These Bibles and Hymnals were to remain in the pews so that people could use them during worship, and we had Bibles in all of our Sunday School classrooms, so the church leaders did not want people taking these Bibles or Hymnals to other rooms. But being teenagers what we found amusing was the thought: “What if someone took a Bible home, would that be a bad thing? Were they going to have some kind of security at the doors checking our things to make sure we weren’t trying to take a Bible home?” What kind of message did this convey, especially to visitors? Here is the Word of God, but do not remove. Don’t you try to take the Word of God out of this church.

Sadly, though, that is an attitude that some people have concerning the church. The Word of God is fine right here in the church, but I don’t want to take it with me outside the church as it might interfere with my life. Fortunately, Jesus has never taken that approach. In our Gospel lesson for today, Jesus had just finished teaching in the synagogue, where He also healed a man possessed by a demon, and was on His way to Peter’s home for dinner. Upon arriving at the home, Peter and the other disciples are informed that Peter’s mother in-law was in bed with a fever. Without hesitating, the first thing Peter and the disciples did was to inform Jesus. They did not call a doctor, they did not decide to wait a few days to see if she got over it, they did not tell her to rest and drink lots of fluids. Instead, they immediately took the news to Jesus; and that’s important for us to understand, because we don’t always do that first or right away.

Often we will try all kinds of different things to fix a situation and when we think we’ve done everything we can do we’ll say things like, “Well, I guess the only thing we can do now is pray.” Bringing concerns, needs, and difficulties immediately to Jesus through prayer, and allowing Him to act, should always be the first thing that we do, not the last.

This point, I think, is illustrated in an experience I had many years ago when I was in the Army. I was leading a group of vehicles from one place to another and my commander told me before I left that if I had any trouble to call him on our radios. Everything was fine until I needed to turn on to a certain road. The road was on my map and I knew I was in the right area, but I couldn’t find it. I ended up driving around for a little while when all of a sudden I drove by my commander in his vehicle. He radioed to me to stop, which I did, and he then pulled up to me and asked what was going on. I explained that I could not find a certain road, even though it was on my map and now I was way off course. When I showed him the map, he told me that the road I was looking for no longer existed and if I had called him he would have given me a different way to go. He said, “Bill, doing your best sometimes involves calling me.”

Our ever-present God is always available to help us, and when we don’t come to Him first, then we are not doing our best. When Jesus got the news concerning Peter’s mother in-law, He immediately went to her and completely healed her. And that evening our text tells us that Jesus continued to heal as people brought the sick and demon-possessed to Him. In verse 33 it says, “The whole city was gathered together at the door,” meaning the entire community had come together to support those who were sick and to insure they had a chance to see Jesus.

And that is what the ministry of the church is all about. We don’t keep Jesus here, we don’t keep His Word here, we are a community that brings Jesus to people, that brings His Word to them wherever they are so they can experience His healing, hope, and forgiveness.

As you can imagine, Jesus quickly became a very popular person. The next morning a crowd had gathered at the house looking for healing, but Jesus wasn’t there. Our text tells us that He had gotten up while it was still dark and had gone off to a desolate place to pray. This tells us two things: First, even after spending a long day teaching and healing, Jesus still found time for prayer. In the midst of His busyness, He needed some quiet time with God. And if Jesus needed some quiet time with God, then how much more do we need to spend quiet time with God.

The second thing we learn about Jesus at this moment was that this was probably not a very relaxing or peaceful time for Him. This was a time for Jesus to focus on the mission His Heavenly Father called Him to do – a mission that would lead to His death on a cross. Now, I’m sure it was tempting for Jesus to follow the will and desires of the people there in that community. After all, when Peter found Jesus and told Him that “everyone is looking for you,” in essence what he was saying was, “Jesus why don’t you come back to Capernaum to be our great healer and leader, everyone loves you there.”

Jesus faced a tough decision: one path led back to Capernaum and a life of comfortable popularity. The other path led to Golgotha, where Jesus would be crucified. One path led to a place where everyone was cheering for Him; the other path led to a place where everyone would be cheering, “Crucify Him!” Jesus had to decide: does He stay and do the will of the people, which would be nice and exciting, or does He go and do the will of God, which would lead to an agonizing death? Finally, in verse 38 we see Jesus’ decision. He chooses the will of God by saying to His disciples, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” I’m sure Peter was probably somewhat stunned thinking, “What? Jesus there people waiting for you at my house. They need You.” But Jesus saw a greater need in taking the Gospel message beyond Capernaum, so that others would know of His grace, love, and forgiveness. And that’s what we need to do. We are not to keep the Word of God in the church to ourselves, we are to share it. In fact, our Lord’s last words to His disciples were: “You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” And that is still our assignment.

When Jesus concluded His prayers with God, He went to work – sharing the Word and Love of God in other places so more would know Him and the life He came to bring. When our quiet time with God is over, it’s time for us to go to work, it’s time to do the things God has empowered us to do. I say that because sometimes people finish their prayers in worship and think, “That’s it, I’m done until next Sunday.” But that is not what Jesus modeled for us in this text. Jesus demonstrates that action should always follow our prayers.

Consider for a moment when we pray for the sick. When we do that, do you just leave it at that or do you contact the sick and let them know you are praying for them? When you pray for the ministry of this church, do you just hope that God will inspire someone to do something, or do you leave this place wanting to be more involved with the ministry of this church by telling others to come and experience Jesus in this community known as Holy Cross? Our lives are busy, I get it, and we all need quiet prayer time with God on a regular basis, but at the end of that prayer time, we need to get busy with the things that are most important – doing the work of God, which involves sharing His Word and Living His Love for others to hear and see, so they may have life with God that we enjoy today and for eternity.

Mobile App
Coming Soon!
google-play.png app-store.png
Gravity Forms Pagination Must be Steps