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Worship Series: Joining Jesus
Worship Theme: Saved to Serve
- Koiné: From All that Dwell
- Salem PreK: Let’s Praise the Power of Jesus’ Name
- CWS 760 When Peace Like a River
- Make Me a Servant
Message: Joining Jesus - Saved to Serve
Pastor Jon Brohn
What do you do when you’re sick? For most of us it probably works like this: I’m not feeling good so I check my temperature. If it’s above 100, I’m sick. I can’t go to work or school. I might take some medicine to bring the fever down. I need lots of rest and plenty to drink to stay hydrated. If I get worse I might go to the doctor. He’ll look in my ears and down my throat. He’ll listen to my heart and lungs with his stethoscope. He might do some tests. He will prescribe some cough medicine or antibiotics. I could even end up in the hospital. That’s what happens when we’re sick.
Do you remember what Jesus, Simon, Andrew, James and John were doing in last week’s reading? They had been at the synagogue. It was the Sabbath, and Jesus made room for that in his schedule every week. We heard how Jesus commanded an evil spirit to leave a man and it obeyed.
This week, Jesus and his four disciples were headed home after worship was over. Can you picture them, walking home, talking about the events of the morning and discussing the things Jesus had read from the Scriptures? It probably sounded a lot like our conversations after church every week. “It was so good to see our friends! I loved that one song that we sang. What did you think about the sermon? I really liked that point. You did? I didn’t get it. Can you explain it to me a little more?”
When they arrived at Simon and Andrew’s house, they found that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick. She had a high fever and was in bed. Simon couldn’t call the health clinic or schedule a virtual appointment. They did have Jesus! Jesus could heal people. Simon and the others had witnessed Jesus heal someone in Capernaum with just a word. A centurion’s servant was sick. The centurion begged Jesus to heal his servant and said, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8 NIV). The healing happened at that very moment! The disciples knew that Jesus could heal Simon’s mother-in-law!
Jesus didn’t heal her with a word. He personally, tenderly took her hand and lifted her up. “The fever left her” (Mark 1:15 NIV). She didn’t need a slow recovery to regain her strength. “She began to wait on them” (Mark 1:15 NIV). One minute she’s down and out, the next minute she’s running full speed as the hostess: “Simon, quit wasting time! Let’s get the food on the table! What are we waiting for people? Sit down and eat, eat, eat!” Jesus saved her, and she was ready to serve!
Jesus needed the food—his work day wasn’t over yet. “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, 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” (Mark 1:32–34 NIV). Jesus’ heart overflowed with compassion. He healed many people. He threw out all kinds of demons. Imagine the excitement and joy as people left the house with their prayers answered.
If Jesus could do that for an entire village of people, why can’t he do it for us? Why can’t he do it for me? We have so many health issues right now—in our families, our church family, our friends, our co-workers, our nation, our world! What about my cancer? Why won’t Jesus heal it? What about COVID? Why won’t Jesus say the word and get rid of this pandemic? God’s people cry out for help, and most days it seems like we are met with silence. We feel like Job did in our first reading from the Old Testament. “My days pass by more swiftly than the shuttle of a weaver’s loom. They come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is just a breath. My eyes will never again see good fortune” (Job 7:6–7 EHV).
It’s not fair, is it? If Jesus really, truly loved me, he would heal me and take away this hurt that doctors can’t help. “If Jesus really loved me…” Can you hear the devil’s subtle voice whispering those words? He wants us to equate Jesus’ love with getting what we want. So, if we don’t get what we want, Jesus must not love us. Such twisted logic! That’s what sinful hearts do. We doubt Jesus’ love. We get angry with him because we want our solution in our time!
We forget that Jesus gets it. He gets our pain. He sees our illness. He knows our fear and our doubt. The prophet Isaiah described Jesus with these words: “Surely he was taking up our weaknesses, and he was carrying our sufferings” (Isaiah 53:4 EHV). JESUS DOESN’T ALWAYS TAKE AWAY THE HURT, BUT HE ALWAYS OFFERS HOPE. Jesus took up our greatest weakness - our sin - and carried it to the cross. As he hung on the cross he also carried the pain, failed treatments, bad news, lost work days, sleepless nights. Jesus didn’t get cancer, but he took up yours. Jesus didn’t endure COVID-19 or some other pandemic, but he carried it for us. Jesus wasn’t blind, or lame, or deaf, but he took up those weaknesses. Jesus didn’t have chronic pain, but he carried ours. Jesus may not have had terrible allergies, but took up ours. JESUS DOESN’T ALWAYS TAKE AWAY THE HURT, BUT HE ALWAYS OFFERS HOPE.
Taking up our weaknesses and carrying our sufferings is exhausting work. “Jesus got up early in the morning, while it was still dark, and went out. He withdrew to a solitary place and was praying there” (Mark 1:35 NIV). When Jesus needed to recharge his batteries the first thing he did was go to his Father in prayer. Did you ever wonder what Jesus prayed about when he got up early that Sunday morning ? I think his heart was hurting at all the weakness and suffering in the world. Jesus had only healed a fraction of the people in this world who needed it. How could he leave so many without healing? I think he prayed for us in our struggles: “Father, help them to know that I love them, even when I don’t take away the hurt. Give them hope!” I think he prayed for focus and clarity in his work: “Father, help me stay on track. Help me remember why I came into this world.”
When Simon and the others found him, Jesus was ready to get back to work. He said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38 NIV). Jesus didn’t say, “Let’s go somewhere else so I can heal.” His number one priority was preaching the message of salvation! We would like his first priority to be taking away our problems. But, Jesus doesn’t always take away the hurt, and even when he does, it won’t last forever. Every single person he healed probably got sick again. Even the people Jesus raised from the dead didn’t live forever - they had to die again. That’s why, even when Jesus doesn’t take away the hurt, he always offers hope from his Word! “That is why I have come!”
Jesus Word gave hope to a paralyzed man. When the man’s friends brought him to Jesus, they couldn’t get into the house. They carried their friend up on the roof, made an opening, and lowered him down to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, the first thing he did was use his Word to bring hope: “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5 NIV).
When a man named Jairus came to Jesus begging for the health of his daughter, Jesus went with him. As they went along, news came that the girl had died. Jairus was grief stricken, but Jesus’ Word brought hope: “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36 NIV). Later, Jesus brought the girl back to life!
When a crowd of over 5000 ran around the lake to the solitary place where Jesus and his disciples had gone, Jesus couldn’t send them away. Instead, he filled them with his Word of hope: “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things” (Mark 6:34 NIV). Jesus didn’t start by healing them. He didn’t start by feeding them with his Word. JESUS DOESN’T ALWAYS TAKE AWAY THE HURT, BUT HE ALWAYS OFFERS HOPE with his Word!
Jesus does more than offer hope. He surrounds us with hope. He envelops us with hope. He lifts us up and carries us along with hope. Still struggling? Let’s take some quiet alone time like Jesus did to do some refocusing. Start with prayer. What does your prayer life look like? Watch this video.
My prayer life is most often like the guy falling asleep. I save my prayers for when I’m most tired. I’m also the list guy. I have my list of “demands” that I lay in front of God. No matter what our prayer life looks like, we need to pray. Jesus loves to hear from us! Take the time to talk to him. One of our favorite hymns says it like this: Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged — Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our ev'ry weakness — Take it to the Lord in prayer. (What a Friend We Have in Jesus CW 411 v.2)
Not sure what to say? Start by reading a section from God’s Word. As you read, try to jot down things that catch your attention. It could be something you’ve known for a long time, or something you just noticed. It can be good news or bad. Maybe it’s just something you never knew. Then pray. Pray for understanding. Pray for guidance. Pray for God to take those words and work through you. Pray that he takes the hurt you’re experiencing and uses it to keep you focused on what’s truly important—the hope that Jesus brings.
Finally, be ready for the answer that God provides. Sometimes the answer is, “Yes!” We can sing and shout and say thank you. Sometimes the answer is, “No.” It might sting, but like a parent who has to say “no” to their child’s request, God loves us and will only do what’s best for us. Sometimes the answer will be, “Wait a while.” It’s always hard to wait, but know that God’s timing is always perfect.
No, JESUS DOESN’T ALWAYS TAKE AWAY THE HURT, BUT HE ALWAYS OFFERS HOPE - hope that there is something bigger going on. Jesus has a plan, and he’s working the plan. It will be good. That’s what Romans 8:28 assures us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV). We may not see what the plan is, but we know the ending. It's a fairy tale ending when the prince and princess live “happily ever after.” That’s how Jesus’ plans work out for you and me. We get to live “happily ever after” with Jesus in heaven. That’s our greatest hope! Amen.