Summary: Jesus’ actions not only set free a demon possessed man but also Jesus’ followers.
January 28, 2006, p. 1552
Our text for today is Mark 1:21-28. You need to know that this text takes place on the Sabbath day. The Church day. The Jewish Holy Day. This text tells us about a church service when Jesus spoke.
Before we look at what happened in the service, during the service - I would like to point out 4 things that happened in the 24 hours following the service. Mark lists for us in the verses that follow, 4 actions, 4 behaviors, 4 pursuits that the church people took, did as a result of being at the service that day.
After the service the first thing that happened is found in verse 28, "News about Jesus spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee." Mark tells us that the worshippers that day when the service ended, spread news about Jesus. They told, talked, proclaimed Jesus. They didn’t talk about the prayers, the music, the kid who was a bit noisy, or the old man who fell asleep. They talked about Jesus.
Secondly - verse 32, "That evening after sunset the people (church people) brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed."
These church people wanted people to be well. They brought the sick, the hurting, the possessed to Jesus. This tells me these church people had caring hearts and they knew who the sick were and where to find them and who could help. And because this happens after sunset, this tells me the church people were willing to sacrifice their time and their energy to get them to Jesus.
A third response by the people who were in church that day is in verse 33, "The whole town gathered at the door." I assure you this has never happened to me after I have spoken, but after Jesus did, the whole town drew near to him. Everyone. All. Whatever the church people told the town people about Jesus, it was attractive to them. They came - each and everyone - after sunset with a sense of expectation. With a sense of hope.
A fourth thing happened early the following morning. Peter, Andrew, James and John go and find Jesus having been awaken from their sleep by the people. And they say to him (verse 37), "Everyone is looking for you." These same people who had been up with Jesus late into the previous night were back - back again early the next morning. Apparently Jesus had awakened them to something they hadn’t experienced before. They were hungry for more. They wanted to begin their day with Jesus.
I want to point these 4 reactions out because these are not the typical reactions that church people have after one of our services or for that matter after any other church’s service. Most of the time our 4 reactions, our 4 behaviors after a service tend to be any of the following:
We go eat - we are hungry.
We go to sleep - we are tired
We go shop - we have the ads from the paper.
We watch a ball game or any other number of things.
But something happened on that day that was unique. Something that lit a fire under the church people to:
Bring their hurting friends.
Have an attitude of expectation and hope.
And come clamoring for more.
And beginning in verse 21, we can read what that something was. Read text Mark 1:21-28
Mark identifies for us 3 things that happened in the service that awoke within them their desire to tell others, bring their sick friends, stay late into the night and come back early the next morning.
These 3 things are given to us in an ever-increasing order.
1st - These people were available.
Mark tells us that the 1st step these people took on the Sabbath day was to get up and go to the synagogue/their church. They made a point of being there. They didn’t exactly know what was going to happen. They didn’t know if it would be worth while (whatever that means) for seldom does one service and one message ever to touch everybody. They went. They chose to go. They made themselves available.
In the latest issue of the Covenant Companion, there is an article called, "Good Intentions - Empty Pews - Most Americans who say they go to church never get there." In it are statistics that indicate that people are not participating in that most basic Christian tradition--the weekly gathering together for worship, teaching, prayer fellowship, and Holy Communion. A church service is the most prominent place where people hear Jesus’ words. When fewer people attend church, fewer hear the words of life. Fewer hear the gospel for the first time. Fewer take the sacraments. Fewer children hear of God’s love for them. Fewer marriages are put back together. Fewer teenagers find a listening ear. Fewer people glorify God and enjoy him forever. It should be a question that matters deeply to Christians.