FacebookTwitterStumbleuponLinkedinRSS FeedPinterest

5th Sunday after the Epiphany - Series B

Text: Mark 1:29-39

Title: “The Reason Why”

Date: Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pastor Steve Bocklage

How do you see Jesus? What kind of picture do you have of Him? It occurs to me that while He lived, no one ever got a good picture of Jesus…of who He was and why He had come. I mean, think about it. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the wise men went to Jerusalem because they saw Him as a mortal monarch whose place would be in a palace. King Herod had a bad picture of Jesus. Herod thought that Jesus was heaven-sent to eventually seize His throne. The Pharisees had a bad picture of Jesus. They thought He was a devil, a deceiver, a fraud, and a fake.

         When Jesus ministered on earth, just about the only ones who could clearly see Him were His hellish enemies. In Last Sunday’s Gospel reading, while Jesus was speaking in Capernaum's synagogue, He was interrupted by a man possessed by the devil. The Gospel of Mark tells us the man cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!" (Mk. 1:24) That demon, like many after him, had a good, clear picture that Jesus was God's Son, our Redeemer from sin, Satan, and death. Yes, 2,000 years ago, the demons saw Jesus correctly and very clearly. But they were about the only ones to do so.
         Have you noticed in the 21st century that Christ's enemies also seem to see Jesus very clearly? Isn't that why they're doing all they can to diminish His divinity and show the world only His humanity? Have you noticed that entire nations and other religions of the world are working non-stop to minimize the Savior's sacrifice and promote a picture of Him as being a faded and flawed philosopher…a teacher of truisms…a preacher of platitudes? Haven’t you noticed that Jesus' enemies are trying to legislate our Lord out of history and ban His name from their cities, communities, country-sides, and universities? Haven’t you heard that some of the nations of the world will go so far as to throw into jail any person who owns a Bible and pronounce a death sentence upon any citizen who says: "Jesus is my Savior and Lord."
         I think they see the Lord far more clearly than the people of Capernaum do. Those who witnessed Jesus' miracle of silencing the demon and sending Him back to hell where he belonged were amazed and the news of what had happened started to quickly get around. The speed at which the story about Jesus was traveling got a boost when later that day, He heals the mother-in-law of one of His disciples. Jesus heals her so well, that without any period of rest, she gets up and starts to practice hospitality.
         That is two healings in one day. And what did people get out of these two healings? When they looked at Jesus, what did they see? Did they get a clear picture that He is God's Son? Did they hear Jesus' call to repentance from sin? Did they listen to His message of salvation? What was their picture of Jesus? What they heard was this: “Jesus is performing miracles in Capernaum. No appointment needed.” Word gets around that Jesus is doing miracles, so people come…the lame, the blind, the crippled, the possessed. It’s an unusual parade. They hop, hobble, limp, and are carried. Like a tidal wave, the sick arrive. The whole curious town comes, as well. Jesus heals enough of them that the news about His miracle working spreads even further. And when these people hear the news, they go to see for themselves. Do they go to see Jesus the Savior from sin? Do they go to see Jesus the giver of eternal life? Nope...they wrap up their sick, put them on stretchers, and head out to see the doctor. Mark tells us when they arrived, Jesus is not there. Loudly, they wonder: "Where has the miracle worker gone?"
         Truth is, early that morning Jesus…knowing that people are getting an incomplete picture of Him…goes out to a private place to pray. You see, Jesus had been born to be the Savior of souls, not just the healer of bodies. Jesus' miracles had been designed to show He was God's Son doing God's work of buying us back from those who had stolen us away from our heavenly Father. Jesus' physical miracles were designed to point people to a greater, a spiritual miracle: the blood-bought forgiveness which Christ’s death would offer to all who believe. However, those in Capernaum miss the point. They see only a healer.

         But the Lord is not just only, and merely, a heaven-sent healer. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. If you see Him only as a healer or only as a teacher or a preacher or a philosopher…if you see Him only as a good man or a wise man…then you have a poor picture of who He is. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and your Savior. That’s why He was born and why He lived. It’s why He suffered, died, and rose from the dead. And that is the picture of Him that the Holy Spirit wants to share with the world.

         When the disciples finally find Him in His place of prayer, they try to convince Him to go back for some more healings. But Jesus does what no doctor, politician, or pastor would have done. He leaves the crowds, leaves the popularity, and leaves Capernaum. It’s an unbelievable decision. He goes out and preaches to anyone who will listen. He preaches a message that has changed the world: “Through the sacrifice of His Son, God has called the world to repentance, forgiveness, and salvation.” He will always tell people why He has come.

         Now, I could try and tell you why Jesus entered this world, why He did what He did. But the picture I would give you would be a poor one. It’s far better to let Jesus tell you Himself. Within the four Gospels, Jesus said why He had come. His words will give you a clear picture of His purpose.

         Why did Jesus come? He said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt. 5: 17) With these words, Jesus lets you and me know that He came to fulfill the laws that you and I have broken and to keep the commandments that we have disobeyed.

         Why did Jesus come? Jesus said: "I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (Jn. 6:38) Jesus' entire life is dedicated to doing His Father's will... fulfilling God's plan to save you from all that is wrong in your life.

         Why did Jesus come? He said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn. 10:10) Jesus wants you to know, to believe, that He is giving a gift that you cannot get anywhere else. He wants to bestow upon you, free of charge, a life of peace. When you are given faith in Him as your Savior, your Redeemer, your Friend, you are given a peace of mind, heart, and soul which the world promises but can never deliver.

         Why did Jesus come? The Lord tells us: "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” (Jn. 12:46) The world is pressing in on you. The pains, the problems, the hurts, the horrors, the loneliness, and the darkness surround you. In Jesus, there is light. No, that's wrong. Jesus is the Light! The Light that illumines your path…the Light that brightens your outlook…the Light that is hope, happiness, and heaven.
         Why did Jesus come? He tells us: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28) That's the picture of Jesus that the demons fear. That's the picture the world does not want you to see. The world doesn’t want you to see a sacrificing Savior, who gave His all so you might have all. The world doesn’t want you to see the Lord of life, who gave His life so you might be ransomed from sin, death, and devil. It is this perfect picture of the Savior that you need to see.

Hear these words spoken by Jesus…believe them and trust them more than anything else you will ever hear. Look at the Savior. See Him clearly as the Savior of souls, including yours.  Amen.

We have 43 guests and no members online