21155 College BLVD
Olathe, KS 66061

Sunday, February 4, 2024 -Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

The sermon will be a post on our Facebook page. Please click on link to view sermon.

God Heals Persons and Communities

When Jesus heals us, we are empowered to serve others. While at first glance it might seem that Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law was self-serving, on further reflection we see the same result in nearly all of his signs and miracles. The object of Jesus’ compassion now has new responsibilities. In the very next chapter a paralytic lowered through the ceiling is raised, only to become the center of a religious controversy (Mark 2:3-12), as was the man who lay by the pool of Beth-zatha for thirty-eight years (John 5:2-15). When Jesus calms the storm (Mark 4:35-41) the disciples have to row the rest of the way! Any meaningful encounter with Jesus will result in our being changed, which in turn alters the way we see our relationship to the needs of others and the world.

Hard economic times, natural disasters, and divisive, party strife can make us feel helpless and hopeless, as if we have been abandoned by God. Even the church—local congregations as well as denominations—may feel fear and panic in the face of declining numbers and revenues, loss of loyalty from members, indifference or hostility from the surrounding culture, and internal sniping among factions. The exiled people of Israel in Babylon experienced all of this and more, so our condition is neither unique nor beyond the reach of our God. Isaiah 40:21-31 in the NRSV begins “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” Eugene Peterson, in The Message, translates this idea as “Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening?” There is some irony indeed that God’s church, entrusted with God’s salvation history and the gospel, still panics, still doubts and worries, still feels like it is up to us to save the church. We indeed are “clay jars” (2 Cor. 4:7)—carrying the message but not understanding, preaching salvation but not believing that God cares or will act to save. We live Isaiah 40 every day.

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

Everywhere Jesus goes, many people expect him to set them free from oppression. Everywhere he goes, he heals people and sets them free. Disease, devils, and death are running for their lives. The forces that diminish human life are rendered powerless by Jesus.

29As soon as [Jesus and the disciples] left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.