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Gospel centred sermons, based on the lectionary often in advance.

Jan 29, 2012

Your Famous blogger

Mark 1:29-39

I am an extremely famous person. Those of you in Australia you may know Clinton Shifskofski. He’s a footy player who has represented his state in both League and Rugby. He grew up in Moranbah and was at the High School when I was a teacher there. I’m pretty sure that I once taught him for an English elective, for six weeks. I’m sure that it’s as a result of my brilliant teaching that he has been so successful in his football career. From now on I expect extra respect from everyone who meets me and reads or listens to this blog and podcast….

                I am of course speaking utter nonsense, but it sometimes seems that the people around sportsmen, politicians and celebrities believe that the reason these VIPs exist is to make those around them look good. Some of the “hangers on” are only there to get what they can for themselves. Sometimes we treat God in Jesus Christ like that. Our relationship with him often seems to be all about us. Peter and the other disciples often acted like that.

Today’s Gospel reading is an example of that. Peter’s mother-in-law on the other hand has the right idea. As a result of God coming near her in Jesus, she realised that the appropriate response is to serve God and our neighbour.

Questions for thought and discussion.

What is your response to Jesus? Is it the response of Peter? Do you want a tame miracle worker? Or is it the response of Peter’s Mother in Law? Is it to show your thanks serving Jesus and others? What will you do to serve Jesus and your neighbours this week?

ten and a half years ago

Sermon notes - a few gaps here but essentially this is the full text.

Epiphany + 5 B Mark 1:29-39
2. Sermon Two responses to Jesus
Over the past few weeks and over the next few Mark's Gospel tells us all about Jesus' authority. Last week we heard about Jesus' authority over evil,... call disciples,... From God...Son of God etc.... Kingdom of God has come near....

Today we hear about Jesus' authority over sickness and we also see two responses to Jesus' authority. From those responses & Jesus word we are also reminded of the purpose of Jesus coming among us.

1. Jesus Authority over sickness.
Jesus comes to Peter's house (Simon) & they discover Peter's mum in law is sick and Jesus heals her.... Now as you know I’m fairly conservative... But even... Jesus presence, his ministry had... We’ll touch on that a little later...
Soon the reports of her healing spread througout the village and Mark tells us that the whole town came out to see.
(One of my favourite experiences... Gladstone’s dam... (Kiosk reopened...) The rumour spreads - not just the news but word of mouth. Imagine if the water ever goes over the spillway!!! This was the effect of the healing- Many, many came and were healed. Because of this even the next day there was a great crowd looking for Jesus - Life was restored. Hope was renewed.

2. One of the responses to this is the response of Peter, the disciples & part of the crowd. We like to be near famous or influential people... Pat Rafter, Clinton Shifskofski... Some people - politicians' minders like to control these people. Part of the motivation is the excitement of being around power, of being where the action is. Part of it is glamour.... But part of it is about what you can get for yourself. For Peter being in the centre of things was important. He assumed the same was true for Jesus... Incredibly, Jesus, instead of wanting to be in the centre of the action had disappeared, to pray.. So the disciple's go out hunting for him “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:37 (GNB) They tell him. There's a crowd waiting Jesus, you have to come back and perform.

But this was not why Jesus came. The politician's job is to govern the country, not to be popular, or give their minders power and a sense of importance. The Footy players job is to play football, not to make his old teachers look good. And Jesus main purpose was not to be popular, or to make the disciples important, or even to be a miracle worker.

3. Peter's mother in law understood this. She knew that because of the gift of being healed, given to her, that her only appropriate response was service. So the first response is... while the second is... Unlike the disciples she wasn't serving to get something. To be the centre of attention or at the centre of power. She was serving because she had already received something. I partly became a minister for some of the wrong reasons. I like being the centre of attention; I like public speaking.
On a more positive... I also partly became a minister because I had an almost mystical sense that I was being called to it, but I also became a minister because in my second year of Uni I went on a short term mission project to Maryborough where I first came to understand that I had been given a gift. That Jesus had healed me, had made me whole. This was a gift I did not have to earn. Because Jesus had served me I wanted to serve others, as a sign of my thanks. All of us, not just me, are here, at least partly because we know we need Jesus' healing and even if it isn’t complete.... Not just from sickness.... Because of this we have come... to celebrate & receive... above all to give thanks. This too is what gives purpose, hope & meaning to our lives!! It's what motivates us - we know Jesus heals

4. This gets us closer to why Jesus came, why he healed, why he cast out evil spirits. It gets us closer to why God the Father sent him. He was sent to heal and bring the message of healing to the whole world. He wasn't sent to make himself popular, or to build up a big following. In response to Peter's demand that he go back to the crowd in Capernaum, Jesus says “We must go on to the other villages round here. I have to preach in them also, because that is why I came.” Mark 1:38 (GNB) Jesus comes to be and to speak the message.

In our lives, in our actions, our words, and in our service we are also called to speak the message. We are called to serve Jesus and others. Like Peter's Mother in Law we know that we are healed. We know that God in Jesus looks after us. If that is true then in our service of words or actions, we have a message of hope for the world - a message of healing.

What could be more important in the times of uncertainty that we face than this message of hope. What could be more important than to serve people in their fear or their need?? What could be more important than a message which says that all things can be healed. Whether it’s the economy, Iraq & US, the desire to be powerful and grasp power,... ..... Israel & the Arab world.... Or if that's too dizzying ....the divisions that probably exist in some of your households.... ...(forgive me..) God can even heal your Mother in Law/Father in law... ...perhaps most amazingly of That's why we are here because we know the hope & healing Jesus brings and so today we respond with the service of worshipping God, while through the week we respond with the service of others.

What is your response to Jesus? Is it the response of Peter? Do you want a tame miracle worker? Or is it the response of Peter’s Mother in Law? Is it to show your thanks serving Jesus and others? What will you do to serve Jesus and your neighbours this week?