Summary: A sermon for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany Series B Healing of peter’s mother in law
5th Sunday after Epiphany
"God’s Kingdom in Jesus’ Hand"
There are two events in today’s gospel lesson which this sermon is centered around.
The first is Jesus being taken to Simon’s mother-in-law as she lay sick with a fever. The second is Jesus going to a "lonely place" to pray. These two event have significance for our lives as it did for the disciples 2000 years ago.
Jesus being taken to Simon’s mother-in-law.
Jesus was at the synagogue, taught as one who had authority as we saw last week. The crowds listened to his words.
Then a man with an unclean spirit entered the synagogue. And Jesus healed the man by driving out the unclean spirit.
The disciples must have been impressed, but also curious for they did not know how to take Jesus. They had not been with Jesus long, so they must have been surprised and astonished at his teaching and at the healing He preformed.
So after the service, they went to Simon’s house to get something to eat. Notice there was nothing about Simon’s mother being sick that led them to Simon’s house. They just went as Peter was a gracious host and wanted to feed his friends.
Notice what the text says now: "Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them."
They told Jesus she was sick, but it does not say they asked Jesus to do anything. They did not demand anything of Jesus, but only made Him aware of the problem. What faith!! They wanted Jesus to be in a relationship with this woman and somehow they knew, they felt, He would take it from there.
The disciples had not been with Jesus very long. He had taught in the synagogue, He healed a man with an unclean spirit and now the disciples were able to let Jesus decide what He was going to do. This was remarkable faith on their part. They could have demanded that Jesus do something as they had seen in the synagogue, but instead they allowed Jesus to take the action himself.
Notice the text again. "And He, Jesus, came " Jesus took the initiative and brought His grace into her life. Jesus acted on his own accord. Jesus acted and the woman responded. After the fever left her, she got up and served Jesus.
We do not even know the woman’s name, it does not say anything about her faith, all we know is she was brought into a relationship with Jesus and Jesus responded. It all depended on Jesus not the woman.
Notice too, the disciples told Jesus of her, they began the relationship, but Jesus went boldly ahead to come into a personal relationship with this woman. He acted. He took the initiative. He brought His grace into the brokenness of this woman’s life.
She was a passive receiver. We do not have any account of what the woman said, but we do know her actions. Her response afterwards when she was healed, she served them. She went to the kitchen and made dinner.
I believe the important lesson for us in this story is to see that being in a relationship with Jesus is important, and in that relationship we need to let Jesus bring His act of grace into our lives as He sees fit. Because He is a God of love, He will do for us out of His loving heart. We must trust as the disciples did, trust Jesus with a faith and a conviction which will allow Him to act for us.
This point of allowing Jesus to act in our lives can be illustrated in the following:
"In a textile factory where threads are woven into fabrics there is a sign above the machines:"If the treads become tangled, call the foreman." A new employee found the threads on her machine badly tangled. Frantically she tried to untangle them. The foreman came by and said, "Why didn’t you call for me?" she replied, "I was just trying to do my best." Then, very pointedly, the foreman told her, "Doing your best includes calling the foreman."
The ever-present God is available for our help, and we have not done our best until we have invited him into the tangled scenes of our lives.
They knew that no matter how much difficulty we are in, Jesus can handle it in His own way as illustrated by the following:
"A small boy was in a boat with his father. As he looked over the side, the water appeared dangerously deep. He asked his father, "Daddy, is the water over my head?" "Yes son, it is over your head, " his father said. Then after a pause, "Daddy, is the water over your head?" And the father replied,"Yes, son it is even over my head." After some thought, the boy then asked,"Daddy, is the water over God’s head?" Now it was the father’s turn to pause in thought. After a few moments he said reflectively, "No, my son, the water is not over God’s head."