February 4, 2018

Pastor Mark F. Bartels



Old Testament Lesson; Job 7:1-7  

Epistle Lesson; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Sermon Text; Mark 1:29-39


The text we will look at this morning is taken from Mark, chapter 1, verses 29 through 39.  This is in Jesus' name.


They left the synagogue and went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.  Simon's mother-in-law was lying in bed, sick with a fever.  Without delay they told Jesus about her.  He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up.  The fever left her, and she began to serve them.  That evening, when the sun had set, the people kept bringing to Him all who were sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door.  He healed many people who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons.  But He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.

Jesus got up early in the morning, while it was still dark, and went out.  He withdrew to a solitary place and was praying there.  Simon and his companions searched for Him, and, when they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for you!”

He told them, “Let's go somewhere else, to the neighboring villages, so that I can preach there too.  In fact, that is why I have come.”  Then He went throughout the whole region of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.


These are your words, Heavenly Father.  Lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth.



There are certain times in people's lives when they are probably more ready to be witnessed to, more ready to hear the Word of God.  One of those times is when people get really, really sick.  When people get really, really sick, they are probably in a situation where they are more apt to be ready to listen to God's Word.  Pastor Tweit and I could tell you many, many true stories about people who had maybe fallen away from their Savior, or were not believers in Jesus, and we had the opportunity to go minister to them, when they were sick.  They were far more open to hearing the Word of God, when they were sick.  In many cases the Holy Spirit works through that and brings them to, or strengthens their faith.

What is it about being sick, really sick, that makes someone more open to, or apt to being ready to hear the Word of God.

I want you to think about what happens, when somebody is really sick.  If you are really sick, (maybe you have cancer, or diabetes, or a blocked colon), and things are looking really dire, you don't know what is going to happen.  The doctor is telling you things like, “Well, I think this might work.  We will try this, and see how it goes.  But, we are not certain how things are going to turn out.”

Somebody who is sick begins to long for someone, somebody who has authority over that disease, somebody who has the power to literally control that disease.  In other words, who do they become hungry for?  They become hungry for God, who has the power over that disease. 

In addition, if you are really sick, you might start to think, “What happens, if I don't make it?  What happens, if I die?  Then, I have to face the LORD, and I want to be ready.”  And so, they begin to then look for somebody who has authority over what is going to happen to their soul. 

Who is the One who has authority over what happens to the soul?  That is God.  So, somebody who is sick gets in a situation where they become hungry, or certainly can become hungry for God, because He has authority over spiritual things, and He has authority over physical things.

If you think about what happened when Adam and Eve fell into sin, there were two areas of our life that were dramatically, dramatically affected. 

-The one that was first dramatically affected was spiritual things.  Spiritually, when Adam and Eve fell into sin, what happened to the rest of us?  We inherit this sin that causes us to be, by nature, enemies of God, opposed to God.  As a result, by nature, we are poor, miserable, condemned creatures.  That is a pretty serious spiritual condition we have fallen in to.

-Secondly, because of the fall into sin, not only are we affected spiritually, but we are affected physically.  One of the physical affects of sin is we are no longer immortal.  We are going to die, someday.  This heart is going to stop ticking.  This brain is going to stop thinking.  These lungs are going to stop breathing.   We are going to die.  That is a physical condition, because of sin.

And, not only that, but prior to dying, there are all kinds of things that happen to this body.  We get sick.   We get diseases.  We have all kinds of troubles and pain.  Those are curses that have come upon us, because of sin.

Spiritual curse, and physical curse.

When Jesus came, Jesus came to undo both of those curses.  He came to undo the physical curse of sin, and the spiritual curse of sin.

So, the first thing Jesus came to do in His ministry, the very first thing He wanted to establish was that He is the One who has authority over spiritual things.  He is the One who has the authority over physical things.  In other words, He wanted to show, “I am God.  I am God, and have authority over the curses, the spiritual curse, and the physical curse of sin.” 

So, how did He do it?  He did it by miracles.  Last week, Pastor Tweit preached about a miracle Jesus performed in a synagogue, on a Saturday, on the Sabbath Day.  It was to prove He had authority in the spiritual realm. 

What did He do?  He drove out a demon.  A man was demon possessed.  Jesus drove out the demon. 

And, what do you think happened after church?  If it had happened today, we all would have gotten on Face Book, Twitter, and Instagram, and we would have told everybody, “Man!  You should have been in church, and saw what happened.  There was somebody who drove out a demon.  It looks like He might have control over spiritual things!” 

And, if anybody had somebody in their family who had spiritual problems, what do you think they would have done?  If somebody who had demon possession, might have thought, “I am going to go, and see if I can find Jesus, and see if He can heal my family member of demon possession.”  

That is exactly what people started to do.  Because it was the Sabbath Day, technically, nobody was able to do any work, or walk any great distance, until sunset came.  So, The Bible tells us as soon as sunset came, all of these people showed up the door of Peter's house, with all of their demon possessed relatives, to see if Jesus can heal them, too.

In the meantime, after church was over, Jesus went to the house of Peter and Andrew.  (Peter and Andrew were brothers.)  There, in the house of Peter and Andrew was Peter's mother-in-law.  (So, Peter was married.  The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians Paul said, “Don't we have the right to take along with us believing wives, like Peter does?”  And so, apparently Peter took his wife on missionary journeys.  Anyway, Peter had a mother-in-law.)  The Bible tells us Jesus went to the home, and the mother-in-law of Peter was sick.  They told Jesus about her, and what did Jesus do?  The Bible tells us, “He took her by the hand”.  This is recorded in three of the Gospels, so we have a pretty full account.  Jesus “took her by the hand”.  Luke, the doctor, said she had a very high fever.  And, if you have a very high fever, your life is in danger. 

Then, one of the Gospel writers said, “He rebuked the fever, and immediately, immediately she got up, and the fever left her.  Then she began to serve Jesus.” 

This was immediate, complete, total, instantaneous healing, just by touching, and speaking The Word, showing Jesus has authority in the physical realm, over the physical curse of sin.

And so now, Jesus, in one day, one brief moment, had shown, “I have authority in the spiritual realm.  I have authority in the physical realm.” 

Again, somehow that must have spread from Peter's house.  That evening, at sunset, the Bible tells us, not only did people bring all of their family, and friends who were demon possessed, but our text says they brought people who were sick.  The Greek words say, “People who had bad”, which would be any bad, physical ailment.  Whether you are blind, deaf, or had a gaping wound, or whatever it might be, they brought all of these people to Jesus. 

What does the Bible say?

“The whole town gathered at the door.”  

There were many of them who were demon possessed.  There were many of them who had all kinds of physical ailments.  Every single one of them, (and there were many of them), immediately, instantaneously, completely, and totally, Jesus healed every single one of them, showing, “I am God.  I am God, and have the authority over all physical things, and all spiritual things.”

The next morning, early in the morning, Jesus got up, and went to a solitary place to pray.  Shortly there after, Peter, and the rest of the disciples came to find Jesus.  Having found Jesus they said, “Everybody is looking for you!”

What do you think happened?  My guess is they all went, and the word spread even further.  There were probably more people who were waiting to have their relatives healed of this disease, and that disease, this demon possession, and whatever. 
Listen to what Jesus' answer was.  What did Jesus say?  Jesus said, “Let's go somewhere else, to the neighboring villages, so that I can preach there too.  In fact, that is why I have come.”

-Jesus shows us that His priority, His priority was not to heal people of physical diseases.  He certainly has the power to do that, the absolute power to do that, the absolute authority to do that, because He is God. 

-His priority was not to drive out demons.  He certainly has the ability, and authority to do that.  He is God. 

But, what He was establishing by those miracles was who He was, so that people would listen to His Word.  His primary job was to be a preacher.  That is what He said.  His primary job was to be a preacher of The Word. 

Why is that?  Preaching The Word did something that no healing in the world could ever do.  All of those people Jesus healed who were sick, what happened to them?  They died.  All of the people who Jesus drove the demons out of, what happened to them?  They died.  Some day they died. 

Jesus came, ultimately, to give a far more permanent solution to the curse of sin, its spiritual curse, and the physical curse of sin.  He came to give us a permanent solution.  The permanent solution is only delivered through The Word. 

What does the Bible say?

“Faith comes from (what?)

from hearing the message.

And the message is heard through

The Word of Christ.”

It is only when someone comes to believe in Jesus, as their Savior, their personal Savior from sin, that the total curse of sin is ultimately removed.  We are transformed from unbelievers to people who believe in Jesus, as our Savior.  Believing in Jesus, as our Savior, our sins are totally washed away, and we are declared not guilty for Christ's sake.

Jesus says,

“Whoever believes in me will (what?)

will live,

even though he dies. 

And whoever lives, and believes in me

will never die.”

We become friends of God, and heirs of eternal life.

And so, the curse of sin is totally destroyed.  It is delivered to us through the preached Word, through which the Holy Spirit works faith. 

Also, through that preached Word, what happens?  We believe in Jesus, as our Savior, and so we believe, “Not only did Jesus die on the cross to suffer for my sins, and save me spiritually, and physically, He rose from the dead.  Having risen from the dead, again, He proved my sins are totally paid for.  He has defeated the physical curse of sin.  The Bible promises that as Christians, someday we too will rise from the dead.  The long term solution to any sickness is our bodies will be restored to be like Jesus' glorious body.”

So, the last thing Jesus said before He visibly left this earth was:

“All authority in Heaven and on earth

has  been given to me.”

All authority. 

-He has authority over all spiritual things. 

-He has authority over all physical things. 

What did He say next?  He didn't say, “All authority has been given to me, therefore go, and perform healings on all people.”  What did He say?  He said,

“All authority has been given to me on Heaven and earth. 

Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations,


baptizing them

in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,

even to the end of the world.”

There Jesus tells us through Word, and Sacrament, (there is the authority) The Word and Sacrament releases people from the curse of sin, the physical and spiritual curse of sin.

I want you to read something Martin Luther wrote.  I don't know if we always consider what baptism really does for us.  We had a little baptism here this morning.  Did Jesus, through that Baptism save physically, or spiritually the body, or the soul?  This is what Luther says. 

“I am baptized.  If I am baptized, it is promised to me that I shall be saved, and have eternal life, both in soul and body.  For that is the reason why these two things are done in Baptism.  The body, which can grasp nothing, but the water is sprinkled.  In addition, The Word is spoken for the soul to grasp.  Now, since both the water is applied to the body, and The Word is applied to the soul, and it makes one Baptism, therefore body and soul must be saved, and live forever.”  Look at how Jesus came to save us, physically and spiritually.  Luther goes on, and talks about The Lord's Supper in the same way. 

“What happens in the Lord's Supper?   Your body receives the physical body, and blood of Jesus. And, your soul hears the words, 'This is given to you for the forgiveness of your sin.'  There, with those two things in one sacrament shows Jesus came to save the body, and He came to save the soul forever in eternity.  That is the God we have.”

When we get sick, what a comfort it is to know, “I have Jesus as my Savior.  He has saved me for eternity.  I am comforted.  He loves me.  He has made me God's friend.  He has authority over this disease.  He has authority.  And, if He wants to heal me, He will do it.  He will do it by a miracle, or He will work through the doctors, nurses, and the medicine.  But, He will do it, because He has authority, if that is His Will. 

“He has authority over my soul, as well.  If He knows it is best for me not to have this sickness removed, in His infinite wisdom, and His deep love for me, then He won't remove it, because He has authority over all things.  If it is His Will to use this illness to make me stronger in the faith, and draw me closer to Him somehow, and to enable me to witness my faith to someone else, then He will use His power, and authority to do that.  We are safe in His hands, as God's people.” 

I want to close with this thought.  If you know someone who is sick, really ill, and they have fallen away from the faith, or they are not believers, it is a powerful opportunity.  It is probably someone who is hungry, hungry to know there is somebody who has authority over this disease, someone who has authority over my soul.  It is a prime opportunity, prime opportunity to take a devotion book, and give it to them.  Tell they you are praying for them.  Sit down with them, and simply tell them where you find your strength, when you get sick.  Invite them to church.  Call one of us pastors up, and ask, “Can you go down to the hospital, and visit my friend who is really sick?”  We would love to do that.  It is a wonderful opportunity to offer a helping hand.