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Worship Series: Lord’s Prayer
Worship Theme: But Deliver Us from Evil
- CW 367: Christ Be My Leader
- Change My Heart, Oh God
- From Evil, Lord, Deliver Us
- CW 439: Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me
Watch the livestream beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. After the livestream is finished, the video will be available to watch at any time.
Message: But Deliver Us from Evil
Pastor Jake Schram
Our text begins with Jesus leaving the synagogue. At the synagogue, he had been teaching in a way no one had taught before. The people were absolutely astounded because Jesus had taught with authority. He hadn’t taught like everyone else who just knows something about someone and is relating it. He taught like he knew the details intimately, like he understood his teachings better, like he had written it, like he had been there and directed it. Which of course makes sense because he did all those things. Then Jesus did his Jesus stuff and drove out a demon. All in a day's work for Jesus. Time to go home.
It seems at some point, Peter (Simon) and Andrew invited Jesus, James, and John to their house for dinner. SLUMBER PARTY, right? So they go on their way. They arrive at the house. They are ready to relax, but something’s wrong. Peter’s mother-in-law (that’s right, he was married- 1 Corinthians 9:5 says it too) is sick. She’s really sick. We are not given too many details, but we do know she had a fever. Luke 4:38 tells us the same thing and by the way…Luke is a doctor so he probably knows a little bit about what he is saying. The fever is so bad and she is so weak that she is stuck in bed. What are they going to do?
Now the disciples do believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but they probably don’t know him all that well. The ones with him started following him earlier in Mark chapter one and at this point we are still in Mark chapter one. And so I wonder if they have these thoughts running in their heads: “Should we ask Jesus for help? Would he even help us? Maybe his miracles are meant only for the prestige and fame that comes from large crowds or priests and teachers of the law.” They work up the courage and immediately tell Jesus about her. After all, they did just see Jesus drive out a demon for someone earlier that day. Maybe he will help heal Peter’s mother-in-law too.
Ok, quick sidenote before we continue the account. Do you ever feel like the disciples? Do you hem and haw as you try to figure out if you should ask Jesus for help for the things going on in your life? I have. Will he help me? Is it too much trouble? Is what I’m asking for too much or too difficult? Is my sin too great? I don’t want to bother him.” I am going to tell you right now that if you ever have thoughts like that, end them. Get rid of them. Those things are misleading and wrong. Jesus cares about you more than anything. He wants you to come to him. He helps his people. It is not trouble or a bother to him. He even says pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Nothing is too difficult for him. Do you think your sins are so great, that he can forgive everyone else’s and not yours? Jesus has died for all sins. He has died for you. Nothing is too great or small to bring before him. This might give you a hint to how Jesus reacts in our text.
After a long, hard day at the synagogue, Jesus doesn’t even hesitate to help. He immediately responds with love and care and helps Peter’s mother-in-law up…AND HER FEVER IS GONE!!!! The word order in the original Greek is inverted here and so it gives special emphasis to the amazing, sudden end of the illness. She is completely better and healthy again. Out of thanks for what Jesus has done, she begins serving them all. Slumber party back on again!
In the few verses we just read, we are given a snapshot of the Messiah. And perhaps the picture we are given should be labeled like so: Jesus has authority over sickness. And what a comfort that is. That no matter what sickness hits us, to know that Jesus could heal it. Sometimes he doesn’t and we’ll talk about that more later. However, there is satisfaction in knowing our God is stronger than disease. You have shingles? God is bigger than that. You have cancer? God can heal that. You have an undisclosed illness that no doctor knows about? God knows it and has power over it. The Lord has authority over sickness and we can rejoice and serve him gladly, just like Peter’s mother-in-law did. The Lord can deliver us from the evil of sickness if the time is right.
Back to our account. The sun has set and the Sabbath day is over. After a busy day, it’s time to relax and sleep. Time to rest and recharge. But hold on. Jesus’ miracles have not gone unnoticed. In fact, news of his exploits has traveled all over the city and now outside of the door a giant crowd of people is waiting. They have brought all their sick and demon-possessed to Jesus, hoping he will heal them too. Now remember, Jesus has already put in the work for that day. I want you to put yourself in his shoes. You have just worked a long hard day. You are tired. You don’t want to do any more work. Maybe you don’t want to talk to people anymore and suddenly you get a phone call that you are needed to come back in. You are so tired already. You just want to go to bed. What do you do?
When something like this happens to me, I often look up at God and sinfully kind of give him the stink eye. Like, “Really? Again?” If it’s paperwork, it can often wait, but if it’s dealing with people, usually I calm down and think, “Ok God, here I go. Give me strength.” Now, Jesus doesn’t complain at all. His heart is completely in line with the Father’s. I’m sure his body was protesting and he had to rub the sleep from his eyes. But there was never any doubt of what he was going to do. In his great love for his people, he heals every single one. In verse 34 I want to clarify something. It says, “Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons.” The word “many” used in that verse does not mean he was able to heal many, but not some. It doesn’t mean left anyone out. It just means he healed a lot of different kinds of problems and he healed them all. No problem was beyond the reach of Jesus’ healing hand.
What’s the new point in the section we just covered? We already saw Jesus has authority over sickness. In these last 3 verses he shows not just his authority over sickness, but his authority over Satan. The demons had no power to stop Jesus. Even as a sleep deprived human being, Jesus was more than a match for them. He even shut their mouths when they tried to speak. Jesus didn’t want the knowledge of the Messiah coming from their mouths and people having the wrong motivations behind it. He wanted the people to see it for themselves. To hear his word and proclaim the message and share the Good News. So Jesus has now shown his powerful arm of protection as he delivered people from Satan’s evil. And he takes the time to heal everyone that came to him.
Once everyone is healed, Jesus and the disciples go to bed. Jesus doesn’t stay asleep long. He doesn’t sleep in. While it’s still dark he gets up. I’m sure he didn’t get much sleep with the late night of healing people. But he gets up anyway because Jesus knows what he really needs. He finds a solitary place and starts praying. It might seem weird that Jesus needed to connect with his Father. After all, isn’t Jesus God? Yes, but while he was 100% God Jesus also was 100% human, standing in the place of sinners and doing what we couldn’t do: leading a perfect life. That means, while he was here, he was tempted just as we are. And he needed to pray just like we need to. The only difference was he wasn’t praying for the forgiveness of his sins because he hadn’t committed any.
This next part seems to be a pattern in the New Testament. Jesus is in a solitary place and it quickly becomes not solitary. The disciples find him, telling him the crowds have gathered once again before the front door, ready to be healed.
Jesus responds, saying, “Let’s go somewhere else, to the neighboring villages, so that I can preach there too. In fact, that is why I have come.” So they leave and tour through Galilee. Wait a second? Is God abandoning all those people at the door? They need healing!! Where is Jesus going!? Why is he going!? How could he leave them like that!? Jesus already showed his authority over sickness and the Devil. Why isn’t he showing it again here?
Because there is something greater at stake.
The purpose Jesus came here was not to simply give you temporary relief. That’s not Jesus’ main goal. He wants to give you eternal rest. That is his purpose for becoming human. The only way that happens is if he preaches the good news. At this point Jesus was going to die for the sins of the world. That was guaranteed. As good as done. But faith is needed to hold onto that promise. Jesus is leaving to spread that faith. What good is it if someone has an injured leg and God heals it, yet that person doesn’t believe? In the long run, it accomplishes nothing. Now I’m not saying healing people was a waste of time and I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good thing. It’s great. It’s just not the point. The miracles Jesus did was not his teaching. And there was something better for Jesus to do. The miracles were always to reinforce the gospel message he was teaching. To support that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
But so often you complain. God, why won’t you take my shoulder injury away? Don’t you love me? Why don’t you take away my drinking struggles, or the pornography addiction, or the family problems? Why do I have allergies? Why do I have to get old? Why? Haven’t I loved you? Do you care? God does care. But earth is not the place for eternal bliss. God wants you to keep your eyes not on this world, but on Christ who leads you into paradise. All of your struggles. All of your pain. All of that, God has plans to get rid of. They won’t exist in heaven. But for now, God’s biggest concern is your soul. God conquered sin to save it.
We can learn a lot from this. Because when we think of what the church should be doing, we immediately think of feeding the hungry, visiting hospitals, and reaching out to people to make them feel good. And while we should be doing all these things, we should never lose sight of who we truly are and why we do the things we do. The church is here to save souls. The way to save souls is by preaching the message of Christ. Therefore, we continue to preach God’s message of a Savior who died on the cross because that is what delivers people from evil. As Jesus carried out his work, the last verse of our text tells us that he continued to do things like drive out demons, but the main thing he did was preach. Let’s make sure to do the same thing. To share the wonderful message we know. God has authority over sickness and the devil, but most importantly over sin. Ant that means the Lord’s strong arm protects you and continually delivers you from evil.