February 7, 2021
Pastor Gunnar Ledermann
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
A parent enters your office and shouts, “Everyone is looking for you!”
“Why?” you reply.
“We think one of the parents is having a heart attack and you’re a doctor. Please, come and help!” The office staff looks at you in surprise.
“I have a doctorate in education.” You admit helplessly.
“Well, you are the smartest one here, what should we do?!” The parent asks frantically.
“Call 911 and get a real doctor.” You reply as you begin thinking how a background in education might help with some strategies to calm the parents and students in gym down the hall. Whether it is a sudden catastrophe or daily troubles, you have experienced moments when you do not know who to turn to for help.
“Do not mortals have hard service on earth?” Job said in chapter 7 verse 1. Job lived during the time of the Old Testament. He was healthy and wealthy with a big family, but then all of his children died, his wealth was stollen and his body became afflicted with painful sores. Looking at what was left of his life, Job went on to say, 7 “Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.” Job had been brought to the breaking point and the only relief he saw was death. Yet, Job continued to pray to God. Job trusted that God had the power to bring him healing, even if it did not seem possible.
Our reading for today from Mark 1, follows just after the reading in Mark from last week. After Jesus preached to the people in the synagogue in Capernaum and drove out the demon, they were left amazed wondering who Jesus was. The news about Jesus spread so quickly that by the evening of that same day he preached in the synagogue, the whole city had come to the door of his disciple Simon’s, also called Peter’s, house where he was staying. Jesus did not turn the people away but healed many diseases and drove out many demons. Then early the next morning, before the sun came up, Jesus went off alone to pray, but Peter and his companions found Jesus and said, 37 … “Everyone is looking for you!” The city had heard and seen what Jesus could do, and they wanted more from him, but he had already given them more than what they needed.
When life gets hard, we turn to prayer. Again, whether a sudden catastrophe or daily troubles, prayer is our connection to God for help and healing. Yet, we have prayers to help and heal us that God does not answer. Or another way to say it, is that we do not see our prayers for help and healing answered how we pictured them being answered. When someone has cancer and we pray for healing, but they die from cancer, it seems that our prayer was not answered. When someone loses a job and we pray for a new one, but then they do not find a job and lose their home, it seems like our prayer was not answered. When everyone else has that new toy and we pray for it, but then we do not get it, it seems like our prayer was not answered. When we pray for our sports team to win and they do not, it seems like our prayer is not answered. When we pray for love, but Valentine’s Day is only a week away and we are still alone, it seems like our prayer is not answered.
When your prayers are not answered, you can draw one of two conclusions. If your prayers are not answered by God, then you can conclude that God does not exist, is not powerful or does not love you. Or, if your prayers are not answered by God, then you can conclude that your prayers are not asking God for good things, the right thing or a thing at the right time or in the right amount of time. Basically, the problem is either with God or you. I’ll save some time and give you the answer from Job 40, 1 The Lord said to Job: 2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” 3 Then Job answered the Lord: 4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?” You and I are not worthy to question God because he is the Almighty Creator of all things, while we are his creatures, created for his purpose. So, when you pray to God for relief from any of the many large or small hardships in your life, and it does not seem to be answered, and you give up, or critique God, or burst out in anger and frustration against God, you have sinned, and your faith has grown weak. And you risk losing all the healing God has given you.
Jesus came to heal you, so Jesus came to preach. The solution to your sudden catastrophes, daily troubles and unanswered prayers is not to turn away from God, but to grow in your understanding of how he gives you healing and relief. When Peter and his companions said, 37 … “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” Jesus had not come to the people of Capernaum to stay at one house, to have people come to him with whatever they thought needed fixing in their life and have Jesus instantly fix it for them. You and I would never be satisfied by Jesus; we would keep going back to him for more. We would not get what we truly need, and even if we got all we want, we would still die, and not be able to take any of it with us. Jesus came to Capernaum to call them to repentance and tell them about the kingdom of God. Once Jesus had told the people what they needed to hear, he was ready to move on to tell more people.
You will be delivered from your sudden catastrophes and daily hardships through Jesus. God outlined how you have been and will be delivered from your hardships, sins, death and hell through Jesus in Romans 8, 30 “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” God predestined or chose you to be a member of his kingdom of heaven even before you were born. God called you, in other words, arranged how you would hear his Word, from the Bible, and how the Holy Spirit would give you the gift of faith. God justified you or declared you not guilty of sin, and God gave you Jesus’ perfect record so that you are an acceptable citizen of heaven. God glorified you, which has not happened but will happen when you are taken to heaven, but it is so certain that you will be glorified that God says, “he also glorified.” This is the good news, this is what we call the gospel, this is the message and answer to all your prayers about cancer, death, a job, a home, a toy, your team’s season, love, relationships, family, etc. You will be delivered from this life where you experience loss and hardship to heaven where you will have all you need. And, while you are waiting to go home to heaven, you get to have hope, contentment, joy, delayed gratification, peace, etc. because you know you are going to heaven and because God does answer your prayers for some of the things you ask for like healing from cancer, preventing death, giving a job, giving a home, giving a toy, letting you enjoy watching your team win, letting you have love, relationships, family, etc. Jesus did not stay in one place but went to as many as he could to preach this good news; he did not stay in one place because he was ever walking toward the cross where he gave his life to save you from your sins and toward his resurrection where he guaranteed your resurrection as well.
Jesus prayed throughout his life for the strength to carry out his mission to preach. When you have not prayed with the good things of God in mind, Jesus prayed for what you needed. Jesus came to preach about his kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom that is ours because he forgave our sins and saved us from death. Because of his great love, Jesus also healed as he preached. When he arrived at Simon Peter’s house, his mother-in-law was ill. After they told Jesus about her illness, he healed her. Then, she began to serve Jesus and the others. A heart of thankfulness results from Jesus’ healing, both his healing our bodies and souls. That thanksgiving shows itself in our lives with loving actions. In James 2, we hear these words, 16 “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James’ point here was to love others. It is an encouragement to you and me, and all believers. If someone needs help, warmth, food, healing, etc. and only say, “You will get through it, Jesus loves you,” and do nothing to help them in their bodily need, then you have failed them. If someone needs help, warmth, food, healing, etc. and you give it to them and do not share Jesus with them, then you have only given temporary relief. It’s like putting a band-aid on a paper cut of someone who needs heart surgery, sure the cut needed healing too, but if you do not heal the heart, they will die. If someone needs help, warmth, food, healing, etc., then help them with their bodily need and spiritual need.
“Everyone is looking for you!” is great to hear when it is to carry out your purpose, but meaningless when it is to do something you cannot do. Many people want something from Jesus, but if it not something he came to give, they will not receive it. Job was a man who had everything, then lost almost everything, but not his faith. In Job 19, he wrote, Job 19, 25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” Even at his breaking point when death seemed like relief, he knew his Redeemer would come for him. Jesus came for Job and for you. When you are looking for healing, look to Jesus, he has healed and saved you, and one day in heaven you will be looking at him. Jesus came to preach to heal souls. Amen.