Summary: Spend the day with Jesus and learn more about your Savior and yourself.
Recently Ken, the college student staying with the Van Velzens, asked if he could “shadow” me at work as part of a class requirement. “You want to spend a day with me, Ken?” I asked somewhat incredulously. I can understand wanting to spend a day with a police officer or a firefighter but spending a day with a pastor? I warned Ken that I spend much of my day studying and writing. He might have more fun watching the paint dry than watch me work. I’m not saying that my work is boring. If it were, I don’t suppose I would do it. And no, I don’t only sit at my desk all day. The best part of my calling is standing before you to proclaim God’s Word whether here on a Sunday morning or at your house on a Saturday afternoon.
You know who Ken ought to really spend a day with is Jesus. That would be fun for all of us wouldn’t it? Well we get that opportunity this morning through our Gospel Lesson. As we spend the day with Jesus we’ll not only learn more about our Savior we’ll learn more about ourselves.
We’re going to follow Jesus around as he carried out his ministry in the town of Capernaum not too long after he was baptized. After spending the morning preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus moved indoors and preached at the synagogue in Capernaum. There he impressed the people with his teaching and demonstrated his power by casting out a demon. We’re going to join Jesus after that worship service. Since Jesus was invited to the home of Peter and Andrew, two of his disciples, we’ll tag along with him there. We can see the house now. It’s not fancy but it’s looks pretty big. I suppose it needs to be since Peter’s extended family lives here. As we step through the doors we learn that Peter’s mother-in-law is sick in bed with a fever. Without hesitating Peter asks Jesus to help. So Jesus goes over to where the woman lay. He doesn’t call for any medicine. He simply “rebukes” the fever as if chastising the family cat off the counter and the fever scurries away! It’s obvious that Peter’s mother-in-law is better because she immediately gets up and starts making preparations for the evening meal. She doesn’t even bat an eye when Peter says his guests are staying for dinner!
Let’s pause here to meditate on what we’ve just seen. We’ve learned, first of all, that sickness invades even the house of God’s servants. I wonder what Peter’s reaction was when he found out that his mother-in-law was sick? Hadn’t he just left his job to follow Jesus and was this the thanks he received? It shouldn’t surprise us either when we get sick, Brothers and Sisters. Yes, you may be a dedicated servant of God but as long as we live in this sin-filled world, we will have to deal with the consequences. We’ll have to put up with fevers and colds…and worse. Thankfully we also learn that there is no sickness too small to bring to Jesus’ attention. Jesus will never look at you the way a medi-centre doctor might look at you for coming in for that cough. Such a doctor might think you a worrywart and complain that you are wasting his time but Jesus will never say that. There is no matter too small to take to Jesus in prayer. As one Christian put it: “If it’s too small to pray about, then it it’s not big enough to worry about.”
We also learn from Peter’s mother-in-law’s healing that Jesus deserves our thanks for his blessings. Peter’s mother-in-law showed her thanks by serving Jesus. No, the woman hadn’t cured world hunger by fixing that meal but she did serve people who needed food right then. Jesus will commend her for that on Judgment Day. And he will commend you for taking the time to put a meal together for your family, a guest, and for people who may never be able to repay you. For Jesus tells us that whatever we do out of thankfulness for his love, we do for him. So the next time you’re fixing a burger for your spouse or cookin’ up some Mac ‘n Cheese for the kids don’t look at it as just another chore. Do it for Jesus just as Paul encourages in a passage familiar to our Sunday School students: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man” (Colossians 3:23).
Let’s get back to our day with Jesus. The evening meal has been cleared and it’s dark outside now. If Jesus were in Canada instead of Capernaum, you wouldn’t be surprised to see him tune into Hockey Night In Canada. After all it was Saturday and Jesus deserved to put his feet up on the couch and relax after his busy day. But wait. There’s a knock at the door. When Peter opens the door to see who it is his jaw drops. The whole city has gathered on his front lawn. Some were laid out in stretchers, obviously sick. Others nervously glanced around as if haunted by demons, which they are. As Peter is about to tell them to come back in the morning he feels a hand on his shoulder. It’s Jesus…smiling. And for the next few hours Jesus touches every sick person there and heals them.