The audio was recorded at our Praise and Worship Service on February 8, 2015.
29 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. 31 He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.
32 That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered near the door. 34 He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him.
35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. 36 Simon and those with him tracked him down. 37 When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!”
38 He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” 39 He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.
What Are You Resurrected For?
I called through your door,
"The mystics are gathering in the street. Come out!"
"Leave me alone. I'm sick."
"I don't care if you're dead! Jesus is here, and he wants to resurrect somebody!”
Jesus walks from the synagogue to the house of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. One would expect a nice post-church lunch. Gather around the table. Fix a plate. Enjoy the company. Maybe there’s some pecan pie and coffee after the main course. And then its a nap in the recliner, Jesus has had a tiring day of preaching, teaching, and driving out unclean spirits. Just a typical Sabbath for the son of God.
But there’s a problem.
Simon’s mother-in-law, the hostess of hospitality, the keeper of the kitchen, the guardian of her guests, is in the back room on her back riffled with fever.
Now you and I may scoff at a fever - two Tylenol and call the doctor in the morning. But this is a big deal. And not just because of the fever. This is big deal because Simon’s mother-in-law has lost her place.
Illness in the time of Jesus, to the world of Mark, was not necessarily a medical issue. We think in terms of science and cures, but to Jesus and Mark, illness had a social element. If you were ill you could not participate in the life of the community. You could not go to work or the market. You could not provide for the well-being of a family. Relationships were broken. You were as good as dead to the world.
We think in terms of science and cures, but to Jesus and Mark, illness had a social element.
But Jesus is there. He walks to the back room without a word. The scene plays out swiftly, and if we blink we miss it. We often hear that Mark described the action of Jesus as “He lifted her up,.” In this moment we have a key word from Mark:“ἤγειρεν,” from the root word “ἐγείρω,” to raise up. Jesus literally raises her.
This word “raise” takes us to a cold tomb, in the early morning, on the first day of the week. The emptiness of death stares a group of shaking women in the face. They have come to honor Jesus, not three days dead, but the tomb is empty. A young man, robed in white, greets them - “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here.” Jesus has been raised, just as Simon’s mother-in-law has been raised. We are witnessing the power of resurrection, which is the power of God in Jesus.
We are witnessing the power of resurrection, which is the power of God in Jesus.
We don’t worship a God of the dead. We are called children by a God of the living. We know this from Moses who stood barefooted and shaking in the middle of nowhere begging God not to send him back the Egypt. But God insists, so Moses asks God to tell him who is sending him, the people will want to know. And God replies, “You tell I AM sent you…I AM the living God of Sarah and Abraham. I am going to set my people free.”
The prophets knew this as well. In the darkness of exile they reminded the people of the living God of the Exodus, giving them hope in the darkness that their living God would act again.
Jesus, our living God incarnate, walked this earth with the power of resurrection. The power of life. We witness this power over and over again in Mark’s story. We recognize it first at the tomb, but then we begin to encounter it in other places. In our own lives.
The resurrection of Jesus is a local event. At the tomb, the messenger says - “Go back to Galilee.” Not Jerusalem. Not to the big city. Not the center. But the margins. Where our lives unfold. The messenger might as well have said - “Go back to Fredericksburg.” That’s where the power of resurrection is moving. Right in your own backyard. Right before your eyes.
Resurrection happens here, in Fredericksburg. Its a cosmic, eternal reality, but unfolds in a local context. The resurrection of Jesus is always a local event, right where our lives unfold.
Resurrection happens here, in Fredericksburg. Its a cosmic, eternal reality, but unfolds in a local context.
But not at the Needs Council. The Needs Council is a place of life, a place of resurrection. A place where hungry people can get food, the homeless can find shelter, the tired can find rest. A place where our living God is at work in bringing life out of death. Resurrection is happening right in our midst. Right at the tips of our fingers.
It’s happening to you. You have been raised to new life through the power of Jesus. We have been raised to new life through his death and resurrection. That’s the power of God at work in our lives. And the question for us this day is - who have we been raised to be?
The question for us this day is - who have we been raised to be?
Jesus comes into our lives with the power of resurrection, the power of new life. Resurrection moves us to who we are created to be. Always as children of God. We are raised to be fully alive in Christ. Full of unlimited possibility.