Ever had a problem with your internet and called customer service to get it fixed?
You call them up.
Press 1 for English.
Press 5 for technical support.
Wait some more.
Listen to some mellow jazz music.
Try not to tap your foot to the beat.
Finally, a prerecorded voice interrupts the music:
“You are our valued customer. We care about your call and we care about you. Please stay on the line.’
You think, “That’s nice.”
Then, you wait.
Wait some more.
Hear some more mellow jazz music, before…
Waiting some more.
Then, the prerecorded voice repeated itself.
“You are our valued customer. We care about your call and we care about you. Please stay on the line.”
It’s not so convincing the second time.
And definitely not the seventeenth.
Sometimes that happens.
Business, politicians, doctors assure us that they care about us.
But they get busy.
They do not respond.
They have way more people to serve than just you.
But God is different.
Today we will see that the authority that cares the most for is the one with the most authority.
Before we begin, a prayer: O Lord, strengthen us by the truth. Your Word is the truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; open our ears to hear what you want us to hear; and open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. In-Law Illness
Today’s lesson is from Mark 1:29. It picks up right where we left off last week:
Jesus had been to the synagogue.
He impressed everyone with his teaching.
Then, he impressed them more when he drove out a demon from a man that had tried to overrun the gathering.
Verse 29 tells us where Jesus and his disciples went next: They left the synagogue and went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.
Yes. Peter and Andrew are brothers.
And yes, Peter and Andrew are grown men.
And yes, they still live together with their parents.
In fact, a common part of Israelite culture was something called the four-room house. It consisted of a main living space that was shared. From there, you could access separate bedrooms that each family unit could occupy.
Peter and Andrew did not share a bunkbed.
In Peter’s family room maybe there was some fishing gear, posters of his favorite fishermen, a few mounted fish, and…
Mostly likely taken in as a widow to the space that Peter and his wife occupied.
When Jesus came over, Peter’s mother-in-law was in the bedroom.
She did not even come out to say, “Hello.”
Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed, sick with a fever. Without delay they told Jesus about her. (v.30)
So…about my mother-in-law. She’s sick.
I know you’ve had a long day and all, but…
You know how you drove out that demon thing? Do you think you could use your…
Peter, don’t ask. He doesn’t owe us anything.
…It doesn’t hurt to try. Jesus, do you think you could drive out the fever too?
Jesus nodded. Peter led Jesus into his family’s space. There on the bed was his mother-in-law.
His wife was seated next to the bed, holding a wet rag to her mom’s head.
Tears running down her cheeks. (It’s hard to see your loved one stuck on a bed.)
It was hard for Jesus to watch too.
Because he cared for this woman.
He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her. (v.31)
Just like that.
He didn’t give her any medicine.
He didn’t apply a wet washcloth.
He didn’t put Vick’s VapoRub on her feet.
He simply took her hand.
And she was healed.
Jesus cares enough to ACT.
It isn’t like at work. You might reach out to a coworker for help and they might respond with an email that says, “Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, that is beyond my scope of responsibility. You might try emailing this other person.”
Then, you email that person. And they respond, “I’m sorry. I don’t think that’s my area. You might try this person.”
…the person you sent the first email to.
Jesus got up.
Jesus walked to the woman in need.
Jesus healed her.
And Jesus still acts today!
Some of you might be thinking:
“What are you talking about? I asked Jesus for help a while ago and I still haven’t received it! I still have doubt. I still have financial issues. I still have COVID. He hasn’t acted!’
But he did.
Before you even requested his help.
Two thousand some years ago, he heard your cry for help.
He heard your cries over that shameful thing you did.
He heard your shame over that awful thing someone did to you.
He heard your stress over this mess that you were in.
And he acted.
He came out of heaven, came to earth, came to this earth, went to the cross, died, and rose triumphantly for YOU.
He acted to win your forgiveness.
He acted to give you peace.
He acted to win you a place of eternal action in heaven!
Yes. Jesus cares enough to act on your behalf.
Thousands of years before you knew you needed him to act, he acted.
II. The Whole Town
Peter’s mother-in-law is feeling much better. In fact, Scripture says that she immediately got up and started, ‘waiting on them.” (v.31)
Goodness, I thought I’d never be healed.
Glad to be feeling like my old self.
Jesus, I’m embarrassed. Let me fix my hair quick.
Did they show you wear to hang your coat?
I see Peter didn’t take off his shoes.
Let me fix you up a nice plate of my famous Tuna Casserole Surprise!
Did you see this precious photo of Peter when he was four? His bowl cut is so cute.
For a bit, everyone is relaxing.
They’re telling jokes.
Jesus just sits down to put his feet up on the ottoman, when…
That evening, when the sun had set, the people kept bringing to him all who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door. (v.32-33)
Jesus, can you help my uncle? He’s blind in his left eye.
We’re looking for Jesus? There’s a mysterious cough that my husband can’t shake.
Hey Jesus. I hear you drove out a demon! Could you drive out this spliter from my left pinky?
Jesus doesn’t send them away.
He doesn’t tell them his office hours are 9-5.
He doesn’t tell them to take a number.
He healed many people who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. (v.34)
It’s an action-packed day, right?
Yet this follow up to the story teaches us two more things about Jesus’ authority:
Jesus is never TOO ANYTHING to help.
He is never too tired.
He is never too worn out.
He is never too sleepy.
Jesus is never too out of Red Bull.
He is never too busy.
He is never too “with another client.”
Never too booked.
Never too swamped with emails.
Jesus is too tired or too busy or too anything to help you, because Jesus is too GOD for anything to be TOO much.
God is unlike human beings.
He’s eternal, so he never tires.
He’s all knowing, so he never fails.
He’s all present, so he’s always there.
He’s all powerful, so it’s never a problem.
Because Jesus is God, he is able to offer divinely complex and personally individualized help to each individual.
Jesus is an EXPERT in WHATEVER ails you.
In verse 34 it mentions that Jesus “heals various sicknesses and drives out various demons.”
None of the diseases stumped him.
He’s an expert in leprosy.
He’s an expert in cold.
He’s an expert in flu.
He’s an expert in Bronchitis and Babesiosis and Bacterial meningitis.
He’s an expert in breast Cancer.
He’s an expert in Lymphoma.
He’s an expert in COVID-19 and all its variants.
And he’s an expert in taking out various demons.
And I don’t necessarily know what kinds of demons there are.
I just know they are all bad.
The point is this:
Jesus is an expert in whatever ails you.
Whether it’s a sickness.
Or a demon.
Jesus knows exactly how best to care for you.
III. A Strange Way to Care
Still, Jesus was true human, so he needed rest.
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. (v.35)
That sounds nice doesn’t it.
The sunlight is just peaking over the horizon.
The air is cool and crisp.
The birds are just beginning to chirp.
Here comes Simon Peter running up the hill:
Simon and his companions…said to him, “Everyone is looking for you!” (v.36-37)
People from town.
People from the countryside.
People from the next county.
3rd cousins twice removed.
They’re all here looking for you!
He told them, “Let’s go somewhere else, to the neighboring villages, so that I can preach there too.” (v.38)
At first glance, Jesus’ response is a bit “un-Jesus” like. In fact, it seems to be in direct opposition to what we talked about so far:
Didn’t Jesus care enough to act?
Wasn’t Jesus NEVER too busy?
Wasn’t Jesus an expert in anything that might ail anyone?
Why didn’t act then?
He cared TOO Much.
He cared TOO MUCH to let these people think of him as an “earthly ailment Savior,” and forget him as spiritual Savior.
He cared TOO MUCH about these others that he couldn’t not share that spiritual saving message with others.
TRUTH: Sometimes Jesus cares by NOT ANSWERING our requests
I know you want me to end this pandemic, but it’s drawn you closer to me and I care about you too much to let your draw farther away.
I know you want me to give you back your old job, but it was leading you away from me. I care about you too much to let your stray too far.
I know you want me to fix your relationship, but that person was poison to your soul. I care about you too much to watch your spirit die.
Sometimes Jesus cares by NOT ANSWERING our requests.
In fact, sometimes that’s the only way.
It’s like Daniela.
You all know.
We asked for God to send us children for years.
Thinking – Why would you answer?
Because God had our daughter reserved for us.
We just had to wait.
He cared about her.
He cared about us.
Friends, God cares about you too much.
In fact, note this about Jesus’ preaching the Gospel:
“In fact, that is why I have come.” (v.38)
It means Jesus’ purpose was to save people from their sins.
Jesus’ purpose was to save people to heaven.
The reason he came to earth.
The real reason…
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, because those God foreknew, he also predestined…And those he predestined, he also called. Those he called, he also justified. And those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)
He cared deeply for you.
He cared deeply for you before you were you.
He cared deeply for you when you were a 1 celled little baby in your mother’s womb.
He cared deeply when you were a little baby in your mother’s arm.
he cared deeply for you when you were in preschool sobbing because some kid stole your show and tell.
He cared deeply for you when you were in 5th grade nervous because of that bully.
He cared deeply for you in 9th grade when you were crying on the end of your bed after your first breakup.
He cared deeply for you when you were in college drinking too much alcohol after your first real breakup.
He cared deeply for you when you were caring deeply for the little baby you just had in your arms.
He cared deeply for you when you sent that child off to college.
He cared deeply for you when you heard that bad doctor’s report.
And he still cares deeply for you.
Until he gets to tell you face to face, how much he cares for you.
That’s the kind of authority he is.
The authority that cares the most for you is the one with the most authority.