Summary: Jesus gained popularity as a healer but He wanted to provide more. Even the greatest healing miracle was only a band-aid compared to what Jesus really wanted to offer.
I don’t think that you are going to be surprised that I am now going to mention the Super Bowl this morning and the fact that my Pittsburgh Steelers won! Yes, last Sunday they pulled out a great game and although watching it on television was enjoyable, I would have loved to be there in person. I know it is next to impossible to obtain Super Bowl tickets unless you are either very rich or you personally know one of the players.
Prior to the game, there were a number of interviews by players on both sides talking about how many cousins, relatives and long lost friends rose up to congratulate them on making it to the Super Bowl. After the congratulations of course these “cousins” whom the players never knew they had, wanted tickets to the game. The phone rings off the hook. “Troy…yea, it’s your cousin Hector. Yeah, I am your fifth cousin, twice removed, from your step mother’s side of the family. Yeah, don’t you remember? I played hopscotch with you once when we were kids. Yea, those were the good ol’ days, weren’t they? By the way, I hear you have some extra tickets to the big game…”
It is quite comical to hear these stories from professional players. Here it is, the biggest game of their life and suddenly every tom, dick and harry calls them up to see if they can grab a little piece of the pie, so to speak. One player even suggested that these “relatives” were bold enough to come to their house, just to “chat”. Right, that’s the ticket. They came over just to “chat”. Yes, if you’ve suddenly got Super Bowl tickets, you’re suddenly popular. And before you know it; you have a larger family or group of friends to boot!
Well, for Jesus, it obviously wasn’t Super Bowl tickets that brought people out of the woodwork, (although if Jesus was teaching in 2009, that would not have been a bad idea), instead it was His healing powers, which was even better than tickets; even better than money. What we heard in our Gospel reading was that they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, where Simon’s mother in law was lying sick with a fever. The disciples immediately spoke to Jesus about her and Jesus took action! He took her by the hand and BAM! The illness left her.
Now, this is where things get really interesting. Right after Jesus goes to Peter’s house and heals his mother-in-law, suddenly every neighbor with a headache shows up at their front door to be healed! Verse 33 says “The whole city was at the door!” “THE WHOLE CITY”…FOLKS! Word travels fast! And this was before email and telephones and even the U.S. Postal Service! No video conferencing; no UPS, just good-old fashioned word of mouth traveling by sandal-clad people all around the town.
And Jesus was kind and gracious to them. Unlike the Super Bowl players who might have asked, “how much are they worth to you”, Jesus did not expect payment. He simply healed them and cast out many demons as well. If I was around when Jesus was doing all this healing, I would have sent him my 6th grade teacher because I am sure she was demon possessed. Yes, I would have gotton on the Jesus healing for free bandwagon back then, as would we all. We would have all be thankful for whatever healing Jesus provided but would that have been the only reason we would have gone to Jesus?
That thought gave me pause to ask what was it really that brought them to Jesus? I looked for something more than just physical ailments. However upon further study I found that it was just their physical needs; or the physical needs of someone they loved, that motivated them. Just like that player who owned those Super Bowl tickets, Jesus suddenly had something that they wanted. This is one of my encouragements for ministry here at faith, we need to find what people want; what they need. Meeting needs is a very important part of ministry. We can’t blame anyone that went to Jesus simply to be healed, you and I would do the same thing. But shouldn’t there be more?
Got a hangnail, go see Jesus. Got a migraine, go to Jesus! Got a sore back, go to Jesus! Got a sore throat, go see Jesus! Got a nasty disease, go to Jesus! Got a demon, go to Jesus! How simple is that!? Who wouldn’t want to go!!??? In fact, if Jesus came here today and stood at the door of faith Lutheran offering to heal, this place would be jumping. But would it be jumping for the right reasons?
So, we see that Jesus endured this endless supply of want from his people. He dealt with them all night. It says here that that evening “He healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons.” But now we need to answer the question I put to you earlier….that is…”should there be more?” Jesus did have a hidden agenda; a deeper meaning if you will for doing what he did. If not, he would never have felt a need to go on the cross. If healing people of their illnesses was all that mattered, he would have just stuck around and opened up a clinic, offering free Super Bowl tickets on your 100th visit.