Summary: A sermon on Christian service.
“Transformed for Service”
By: Rev. Kenneth E. Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
In the preceding passage, Jesus was in the synagogue.
He had a big audience, and in comes a man who was possessed by an evil spirit.
Jesus healed the man and the people watching were amazed.
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning we read that Jesus and His disciples leave the crowded synagogue and go to the home of Simon and Andrew.
And when they get there they find that Simon’s mother-in-law is sick in bed with a fever.
And as with the man in the synagogue, Jesus heals her.
This tells us something about Jesus, does it not?
He didn’t need an audience in order to perform miracles.
He wasn’t interested in ‘wowing the crowds’—just in doing what was right.
Jesus simply carried the truth that was proclaimed in the house of worship out into the world around Him.
All too often we go to church, but don’t necessarily bring the power of God home with us.
It’s been said that all too often, that people, as they go out of church, leave the truth behind in the sanctuary, like hymnbooks which are stamped with the words “Not to be taken from the Church” on them.
But this is not how Jesus operated, and as followers of Christ, this is not how we should operate either.
We are to put our faith into action as we leave the church and go back to our homes, our workplaces, our schools.
In our Wednesday night Bible study, someone had the honesty to proclaim: “The hardest place to be a Christian is at home.”
If that is so, perhaps we ought to make it one of our goals to allow God to cause us to treat our family members as we treat our church family.
So Jesus and the disciples come back from the synagogue and discover that Peter’s mother-in-law is suffering from what the Jewish Talmud called “a burning fever.”
It was, and still is, very prevalent in that part of the Galilee.
In Jesus’ day there was a very elaborate formula that was used by some so-called miracle workers in order to heal a person of this fever.
The person performing this ritual would put on quite a show.
But, as we see, Jesus didn’t use any of that.
Jesus wasn’t flashy.
Instead, with a simple touch of His hand Jesus used the unique and authoritative power of God.
And that very power of God is what we are called to rely on when we are facing a difficult task.
A Christian doctor tells of how one of the greatest discoveries of his life came to him.
He used to visit an old Christian pastor, who never let him go without praying with him.
He was struck by the extreme simplicity of the man’s prayers.
It seemed like they were just a continuation of an intimate conversation that the pastor was always carrying on with Jesus.
The doctor goes on to say: “When I got back home I talked it over with my wife, and together we asked God to give us the close fellowship with Jesus that the old pastor had.
Since then [Jesus] has been the center of my devotion and my traveling companion.
He takes pleasure in what I do, and concerns Himself with it.
He is a friend with whom I can discuss everything that happens in my life.
He shares my joy and my pain, my hopes and my fears.
He is there when a patient speaks to me from the heart, listening to him or her with me and better than I can.
And when the patient is gone I can talk to Him about it.”
Isn’t this the very essence of the Christian life?
To have a daily walk with our Lord?
What a way to live—really live!!!
And in really living, we can make a true difference in the world around us.
This morning I want us to take a special look at what happened there in the home of Simon’s mother-in-law.
As soon as Jesus healed her—as soon as her fever left…
…we are told that “she began to wait on them.”
She immediately used her recovered health—her transformed situation for service to others.
She was, in essence, “Saved to Serve.”
And isn’t this what Jesus does for all of us?
Jesus helps us so that we can help others.
What a better world this would be if we all took this to heart and action!
Jesus Himself declared that He did not come into the world “to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He also told His followers: “whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”