SERMON TEXT BELOW
Jesus Works Overtime
Vicar Matthew Kinne
Mark 1:29-39; Psalm 13:3-5; Isaiah 40:21-31;1 Corinthians 9:16-27
Last week we learned about Jesus’ first day on the job in His ministry. We heard about how on a Sabbath day in Capernaum, Jesus was found teaching with authority in the synagogue and healing a man with an unclean spirit. By doing this, Jesus showed His divine rule over creation including Satan and his minions. Pastor Jud preached about how every word that comes out of our Lord’s mouth has authority, especially to forgive sins through His church. In our Gospel reading for today, we hear more about the power Jesus has so He can heal many people from illnesses and demonic turmoil. Jesus had to do a little bit more work as Lord of the Sabbath.
After Jesus preaches and sends out the unclean spirit, He leaves the synagogue and enters the house of His first called disciples, Simon and Andrew. Much happens in the next two verses. In verse 30, Simon’s mother-in-law is sick with a fever. But in 31 she is not. What happened that caused this immediate change? The text only says, “[Jesus] came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left,” (Mark 1:31a). All Jesus had to do was touch her, and her body was healed. And not just healed a little bit; completely! The words recorded after she is revived is not, “she rested a while to gain her strength back before serving them.” No, it says that she got up, and “began to serve them.” Her sickness vanished! It was as if she was never sick to begin with.
Unlike the commands that Jesus shouted at the unclean spirits in the previous verses, here Jesus’ commands are effective even when He does not speak. This is because He is the Word Himself, and that Word is the authority over all the earth. Having this authority does not make Jesus a tyrant or an unjust ruler. Instead, it means that He carries the responsibility of everyone. As Lord of the Sabbath, it is His job to provide all daily bread and means of living and heal the sick. By healing Simon’s mother-in-law Jesus displays to His disciples that He is not only capable but willing to completely heal those who need a physician.
In verse 32, Mark gives us the timestamp of Jesus working overtime. He says, “That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons,” (Mark 1:32). In the Jewish calendar, the days begin and end at sundown. So, this time marker shows that the Sabbath day was over. Since it was against temple law for Jews to walk any further than 2000 cubits or a half mile on the day of rest, people waited until nighttime to bring their sick and demon possessed relatives to Jesus so that He could heal them. Jesus continued working after a long first day on the job. He did not rest. He did not complain. He gave help to those in need.
Could you imagine what Simon, Andrew, James, and John were thinking after witnessing everything that their new teacher was doing? They were obviously amazed and excited to be following Jesus because in the next few verses, it says that they stayed with Jesus until morning. After Jesus woke up, and went to a quiet place to pray, His disciples told Him, “Everyone is looking for you,” (Mark 1:37). But instead of going back for an encore and taking in the praise and glory from the people of Capernaum, He tells His disciples that they must all move on to the surrounding cities to preach and to heal the sick.
That must have been a shocking moment for the disciples! What other teacher can do these things? What man do you know that can do as little as touch a person and take away their sickness? What man do you know that can command demons to leave those who are possessed? And even if someone else had the power to do these things, would they heal people freely as Jesus did? The disciples are probably confused as to why Jesus would not go back and advertise Himself and receive the credit. But that is not how Jesus works. Jesus works where faith is, not popularity. Jesus gives Himself freely to everyone out of love and compassion.
These actions of Jesus are not only confusing to His close disciples, but to many people now days. Do you know a doctor that can heal any sickness on the spot? If so, please tell me. I would like to meet him. Do you know anyone capable of being as humble and willing as Jesus is? I can’t. A big concern we have is why is there still sickness? It is a stumbling block to reason why bad things happen. Didn’t God say He would be with us always? Doesn’t He promise strength and health to those who believe in Him? He does, but the answer to the question “why do bad things happen?” is so simple it makes people angry. I think the anger is not only because of the simplicity of the answer, but because bad things are not God’s fault. The answer is sin, and that is our fault.
We cannot save ourselves. We cannot live a life free from sin. We are not capable of being humble and pure of heart. We are stuck in a state of sickness where there is no escape. That is, unless someone who is free from sin, pure and humble, gives us His life freely and willingly. Jesus is the elixir to life. His blood is completely poured out and His body is brutally given on that cross which unlocks the gate of sin and opens for us eternal life. He does not rest until the work of salvation is complete. He goes to the cross without complaining. And He does this willingly for you. You are now free from sin, death, and hell! Your spirit is revived and is willing to serve the Lord, just as Simon’s mother-in-law did.
But we still must live in a world affected by sin. It seems unfair. But just as Jesus moved on to the next city after healing many in Capernaum, we as the Church are instructed to do the same thing. There are many people in this world who still haven’t heard about Christ. There are people who still deny that Jesus comes to us in His means of grace. These people need to hear that they are set free from the bondage of sin through Christ’s death and resurrection. God established His church on earth so that these lost souls can be found and brought into His fold. He leaves us here, until the resurrection, so that there is a time of grace for people to repent and believe that Christ the Crucified works on our behalf, so the illness of sin vanishes from us.
Just like many cannot understand that the simple answer as to why bad things happen in this world is due to sin, they also cannot wrap their head around the simplicity of how God delivers salvation from the cross to us. Pride and sinfulness causes doubt when trying to understand how God provides us His assurance through His sacraments. But Jesus [who is God] tells us that this [the Church] is the place. Jesus established it in this way. Your pastor is under God’s authority to bring you forgiveness. Just as Pastor Jud said last week, it is not the pastor who forgives, but God who uses him as the vessel to deliver forgiveness. These are the teachings Christ gave His disciples and now He gives them to us.
It may seem confusing, but if a man who is healing the sick, has power over demons, preaching with authority, and gives His perfect life so that we may live eternally, then why should we doubt His words that Baptism now saves? Why should we be concerned of drinking a cup that Christ says His perfect blood is in it? We shouldn’t be afraid because God Himself promises to be there. Faith does not come from the words of complicated men, but by the simplicity of God’s word.
When a person has finally received faith and is Baptized by the Holy Spirit in the font, no longer does the soul latch onto sin and the sickness of this world. Instead of being pummeled in fear by Satan’s grasp, they hear their saving physician’s voice, and their soul sings a similar song to our introit today:
“I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” (Psalm 13:3-5)
Jesus has healed you. You are made complete again in the work of His life, death, and resurrection. You have been set free from the everlasting illness of sin. This is a bigger and better gift than being healed of any physical sickness in this sinful world. You are free! Free indeed! Amen.
 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28
 “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8