Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Mark 1:31
And having come to her, He raised her up by the hand, and separated the fever from her, and she began to serve them.

Been a while so I’ll tell a little story of our trip. We got back into Dubbo on Monday, opened the garage door, drove in and immediately got Karissa out of the car. Into the house settling down our crying daughter, and thinking about what we were going to do for food. I suggested pizza, Rehab agreed, so pizza it was. Weary we went to bed, then I got up took Karissa and Nathaniel’s monitor, a little bit of prayer and rest. Then with Nathaniel up, immediately get the toast ready, the table, water, and then immediately get to work on service preparation. Sounds like a busy and full time right? Just like our passage today.

Jesus was baptised, immediately taken out to the temptations in the desert. He comes back, begins His ministry and calls some disciples who follow Him immediately. They go to town, He’s immediately in the synagogue, teaching and preaching, then a possessed man comes up and Jesus tells it to shut up and get out, and it does. Immediately His fame spreads, and immediately he leaves and goes to Simon Peter’s house, which is where we picked up the story.

And Mark is a good story teller, who’s favourite word happens to be ‘immediately’. And this tells us of the business and importance of Jesus’ work, of His drive. Jesus comes to this house, the brothers tell Him about Peter’s mother-in-law, and he came, raised her by the hand, took her fever away, and she, being healed, began to serve to the glory of God and the benefit of others. Jesus healed this mother-in-law of a fever, but is this what Jesus came to do? Heal mothers-in-law of fever? Is this what Jesus is driven toward? To take away our colds and sweats? He who is God Almighty, who we have heard sits enthroned above creation, incomparable and without equal. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Jesus is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:28-9). No! Jesus comes to do so much more. And this is what Mark’s account is about, Jesus is the Almighty Healer.

And so, Mark summarises Jesus’ ministry in this one verse, He came, raised her by the hand, took her fever away, and she began to serve. Now words are important, that raised and took away, are also the words we use for resurrection and forgiveness, raising from death to life and taking away our sins. This is why Jesus came, what He was driven to accomplish. And then we hear that the town comes for healing, all those possessed by demons, or those having disease, dis-ease, in the Greek, having bad. All those having bad, so if you have bad in you, unease in heart, bad health, wicked life, come to Jesus for the healing. And yet, it’s not just to heal our bad, fevers and colds, not to make us completely healthy for this life of suffering; yet rather He came primarily to heal us all from death, to bring eternal life. This is why the church is a hospital for sinners, why Holy Communion has been called the medicine of immortality. His Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, maybe won’t protect you from all viruses, from all injury or disease; yet it does so much more, separating you from your sin, guilt and failure, and raising you from death to eternal life in Christ’s Body. You have been raised to New Life and your sin taken from you in Baptism, today God brings you this gift again, and at the End He has promised, we will be finally and completely resurrected and forgiven together in Jesus. So take the example of Peter’s mother-in-law, get up and serve in your New Life of Forgiveness, serve to the glory of God and the benefit of those He has placed around you.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now to the final Resurrection. Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham.