Friday, February 3, 2012

Built and saved to serve... How great is God!

The message about freedom and healing went out from that synagogue last week and it was well known around the Galilee to all those who were ill and distressed by evil. And the people started coming and the people starting finding Jesus, so that they too could be healed and be free. But maybe the most important healing of that particular evening was the one that was done in Simon’s house out of sight and where very few could see it. (Mark 1.29-39)

I have heard clergy moan in sermons about how awful it was to be healed and pressed into service – from the sick bed to the kitchen. Some have considered it very sexist that Jesus would do such a thing. But we haven’t stopped to consider why he did it. It wasn’t because Jesus needed a sandwich and a glass of milk. It wasn’t just because it was Peter’s house and it was Peter’s family.  Jesus saved that woman’s life, her dignity and enabled her to serve him so that others that night have the same experience. The kingdom was made real to her and because of that she began to truly live. And have we considered the fact that hospitality in the East is a great duty? People want to serve and not to be served – most of the time. We need to consider the very fact that this lady was not only made better, Simon’s mother in law experienced something of that salvation that we are all in search and are going to want some day. Maybe it could be someday soon.  How often in our own lives have we wanted our very own superhero to swoop in and save the day.

People are often easily impressed. They see something they want and they will pursue it: a new car, a new house and different (supposedly better) spouse and sometimes a whole new family. If they cannot get it, if there is not enough of what they need to get what they want then people turn to other things to fill the void: television, food, sex, alcohol, drugs. People will search for something to fill the void because they cannot acquire and covet what it is they want; love, grace, hope, and most of all life. It is nothing more than simple, straight forward idolatry. Shocked that I would go that far? That’s probably because we don’t talk that way much anymore. We need a few of the idols we have had built up in our lives knock and pulled down. We need to feel the need to be close to God again. Isn’t that why people came to Jesus that night at Simon’s house? To be healed and to be set free so that they could know God and his kingdom; that they might have what they truly need: hope, grace, love and eternal life?

Jesus didn’t come to impress people that they might live a shallow existence in this momentary and fleeting world and be cheated out of full life in the life that is to come in the kingdom. He came to impact people so they would transform and become the men and women that God created, the people that God wants to spend at least one eternity with. Jesus was not the bearer of God’s message to this hurt, broken and dying world. Jesus himself is the message of the growing hope, health and freedom made possible his Son through his incarnation: his life, death, resurrection and ascension.

There are those who will bemoan all the things that need to be and how impossible the task is will look at the great crowd and wonder “HOW? How are we going to change a world that is more ready to believe that God is dead and that Elvis is still alive somewhere in the universe? We are called to be like Jesus and look up at the starry hosts and be reminded not of how massive the problems of this earth  are but rather how gracious, how great our God is and with Christ, laugh out loud for joy. Let us live that for the sake of the kingdom that we might see others healed, others set free that they would serve Jesus with us and in his name.

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