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The Reversal

Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction:

Healed to Serve

29-
Mark 1:29–34 ESV
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed 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.
Here we have Jesus leaving the synagogue where he just cast out the unclean spirit.
And where did he go? He went to Peter and his brother Andrew’s house. James and John are still with him.
Can you imagine their excitement?
They had left everything to follow Jesus, and now by seeing his power they are feeling like they made the right choice.
Jesus has not disappointed them! They listened to him teach as one with authority in the synagogue.
Jesus has not disappointed them! They listened to him teach as one with authority in the synagogue.
They watched him cast out an evil spirit from a man.
They heard the unclean spirit confess that Jesus is indeed the Holy One of God.
They are excited!
They then go to their house feeling like superstars.
And it gets even better
Peter and Andrew’s mother is sick in bed with a fever.
This fever is not to be understood as one of those low grade fevers where you feel chilled and dizzy. This is the type of fever that has kept her from even walking. She is in bed sick unable to move. Unable to even talk.
Luke records this account saying that Peter and Andrew had to appeal to Jesus on her behalf, for she was sick with a severe attack of fever.
They told Jesus about her and how does Jesus respond?
Mark 1:31 ESV
And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
He came to her...
He wasn’t reclining by the fire taking the posture of a great and mighty king telling them to bring her to him.
He takes the form of the humble king who cares for his people. She was sick and he goes to her.
He took her by the hand and lifted her up
A better way to translate this phrase would be
and he came and raised her up by taking hold of her hand
Lets look at this as a biblical principle -
Those whom Jesus takes hold of are raised
Our being raised, our being healed, our being made new is not because we have some how taken hold of Christ, rather Christ, the king, has taken hold of me.
As Jesus says in
John 6:37–40 ESV
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Or in
John 10:28 ESV
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Those whom Jesus takes hold of are raised. - This is good theology that must lead us into great doxology
Because of this simple truth we now have an eternity to praise God for his faithful grip, and promise to raise us up on that last day. We are to praise the God who heals us, we are to sing to the God who reaches out for us.
Theology that doesn’t lead to doxology is dead orthodoxy.
Mark 1:
Mark 1:31 ESV
And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
He lifted her up, or raised her, and in doing so he healed her - the fever left her right away
Now, how does Peter’s mother respond to having been raised up and healed by the power of Christ?
“and she began to serve them”
the response to being raised and healed is to serve.
Jesus raises her for a purpose, and she recognized that purpose right away and acted in obedience.
Jesus raises and heals his people so they might serve him.
How do we serve Christ?
loving the things he loves and hating the things he hates
Mark 1:32–34 ESV
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed 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.
Now the disciples are fully convinced they made the right choice to leave the fishing business. Perhaps even James and John’s father, Zebedee is now convinced that they made the right choice.
The whole town is now buzzing with news that Jesus is a healer, that he is able to cast out demons, and they all come to Peter’s house to be healed.
They all gathered together at the door - They were trying to come into the house but were unable to fit everyone, so they formed a huge crowd right outside Peter’s door.
Now what a great start for Jesus to establish himself as king!
He has healed many, he has shown his authority in teaching and in his power of the demonic realm
This Jesus now has a whole city ready to follow him. There is no doubt that the disciples are eager to see what going to happen next.
Will Jesus gather enough people to overthrow Rome? will he sit upon the throne and be the new king David?
All of these thoughts would no doubt be rushing through the disciples heads
They are excited, they are ready for Jesus to take his kingdom
So how does Jesus respond ? Does he continue to draw people to himself by being a exorcist or a healer? Does he begin to build an army of followers who would be ready to fight for their king knowing that if they were injured Jesus could heal them? We see Jesus staying the course. He stays faithful to his mission, which is to bring the kingdom of God into full realty. However, they way in which he is to do this is not the way his disciples, or the people, or even we would establish a kingdom.
So how does Jesus respond to this sudden popularity and support?

Stay the Course

Mark 1:35–39 ESV
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Mark 1:35-
The text is implying that Jesus has not even gone to bed yet, rather he stayed up into the early hours of the morning healing people and casting out demons.
So at some point early in the morning Jesus excuses himself and leaves all the people and goes out to a desert like place, a place where he can be alone, to pray.
Peter (simon) and the other disciples shortly realize that Jesus left and they go out looking for him.
When they find him they say, “everyone is looking for you”
Its interesting how Jesus leaves the crowd of people who needed to be healed, who were actually looking for him, he leaves all of that “ministry” in order to pray.
For us, this gives us an example of the importance of prayer and time with God.
Does our time with God take a back seat to the busyness of life?
One thing God does in our lives as we spend time with him is to break down the idols in our lives.
The disciples throughout the gospels have a false idol in Christ. They were expecting him to be this great and powerful ruler in the same way as Caesar, yet Jesus removes himself from the people that would have set him up as that ruler, as that king.
Jesus won’t let the disciples worship him with a false sense of his kingship.
We so often view Jesus, not as he really is, but as we have made him out to be
healer
good luck charm
safety net
emotional comfort - “Jesus has me no matter what” (therefore no harm will come to me)
We set up idols in our lives all the time, and sometimes we think of our idols as being Jesus
A huge idol we submit ourselves to these days is our children.
Summer is here, and many of us are trying to figure out what to do with the kids throughout the summer.
We want whats best for our kids
we want them to play the sports they want to play
we want them to in band or drama or other activities
However, many of us will struggle to balance summer schedules with our time with Christ and his body.
I have known many families that don’t attend church at all throughout the summer because of activities they have planned.
We set up our children’s activities has idols and our time with Christ will call us to knock down the idols and properly submit all things to our glorious king.
All things must come into submission to the king, including our schedules, our families, our hobbies, and our social activities.
All things must come into submission to the king, including our schedules, our families, our hobbies, and our social activities.
So Jesus getting away from all the pressure to be alone and pray ought to inspire us, and even encourage us as to what is to be of first importance in our lives.
However.... This is not popular with the disciples, they are asking Jesus to hurry back to the people, to hurry back to those who would further vindicate the disciples choice to follow Jesus, the true king.
This is not popular with the disciples, they are asking Jesus to hurry back to the people, to hurry back to those who would further vindicate the disciples choice to follow Jesus, the true king.
How does Jesus respond to the disciples?
He says, lets go, lets leave all these people and move on to another town so I can preach.
He says that this is the reason I came out.
Jesus knows the course in which he must travel to establish his kingdom
The disciples wanted him to be the king of the Jewish people, God’s plans were far greater, God’s course of Jesus was that he would not only be the king of the Jews, but the king of the entire world.
The disciples wanted to build an army of people who follow Jesus so they could be free from Rome’s heavy hand. God’s plan was for Jesus to gather an army of followers who would be free of sin’s heavy hand
The disciples wanted Jesus to where the crown and sit on the throne, God’s plan was for Jesus to wear a crown of thorns and have a cross for his throne.
Everything about this plan was paradoxical, It was a great reversal of what was expected of the coming messiah.
So Jesus leaves the crowd of people who wanted to be healed and went throughout all of Galilee preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

The Great Reversal

As Jesus was traveling a leper came to him asking to be healed. This next healing story illustrates for us the great reversal of Jesus’ ministry. This is a story in Marks Gospel that is full of irony and communicates the way in which Jesus gathers his followers.
Mark 1:40-
Mark 1:40–45 ESV
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Marks account of this miracle calls our attention back to the OT
Leprosy
Cleansing
The leper comes to Jesus imploring him and kneeling before him
Mark 1:41–42 ESV
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Mark 1:40-41
Mark 1:40–42 ESV
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
The leper understood his being unclean
This leper had heard that Jesus was able to heal people. So he comes to Jesus imploring him, begging him, and kneeled before him asking Jesus to make him clean.
Notice that this man does not asked to be healed, but asked to be made clean.
OT Leprosy and Cleansing
not like the leprosy we hear about today
When we read about leprosy in the bible we often think about the modern day disease we call leprosy where people loose feeling in their appendages and end up loosing parts of their body.
This is not what the bible is talking about when it mentions leprosy
leprosy in the bible is a title for many different skin diseases.
leprosy is a disease in the bible that affects not only skin, but clothes and houses as well.
OT method for dealing with Leprosy
and 14 give us, in painstaking detail, the laws about leprosy and how the priest is to deal with the lepers
The priest is to check the person who has a skin disease, if the hair has turned white, and the skin has turned yellow or white the man is unclean and is to be secluded from the population for 7 days
after 7 days the priest checks him again he is to be cleansed and secluded for another 7 days
If the the white skin spreads, or the flesh begins to be seen, he is to remain unclean as long as he has the disease and he is to live alone outside the camp
The leper that comes to Jesus has been sent outside the camp, into the wilderness to live.
He has been a social outcast, unable to live in community or to worship God in the temple.
He was not allowed to touch or be touched, he was not allowed to be with his family, he was a complete outcast
So his desire to be made clean is not only a desire to have his leprosy taken away, but it was a desire to have proper community and worship restored.
How does Jesus respond?
he responds with compassion, with pity.
We serve a compassionate God
Jesus reaches out touches the man and says to him, “I will; be clean”
Jesus here proclaims the kingdom in WORD and DEED
After touching the man and pronouncing healing the leprosy left him right away and he was made clean.
After touching the man and pronouncing healing the leprosy left him right away and he was made clean.
The things he had lost can now be restored.
Mark 1:44–45 ESV
and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Mark 1:43–45 ESV
And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Jesus tells to say nothing to anyone, but go show yourself to the priest and offer for you cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.
Jesus tells him to to go to the priest because there are a bunch of steps that need to happen in order for the man to have full access back into the community and back into the temple.
a priest has to examen him to make sure that the leprosy is gone
he has to be anointed with oil, he has to shave all his hair off, he has to make two different sacrifices to God and more.
The man does not obey Jesus. rather, he is so excited, he tells everyone what had happened and how Jesus had made him clean.
We don’t know what the man said, or did
Yet Jesus tells him not to do this.
We know that he told people about Jesus - did he call him a great healer? did he call him a great priest? We don’t know. We don’t even know if he went to the priest to walk through the steps to be reinstituted into the community.
why?
All we know is that he did not follow Jesus’ command.
What was the result of the mans disobedience?
Marks says, Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places...
And people were coming to him from every quarter
Because of the mans disobedience Jesus was unable to enter back into the town
We could ask questions as to why Jesus was not able to enter back into the town
Was it the big crowds?
Was it because of the priests who checked the man with leprosy?
Was it because of hostility?
Was it because Jesus was not ready to reveal himself as the true Messiah, the true King?
Whatever the historical reason was I think takes a back seat to what Mark has communicated in this cleansing story. Mark has given us a beautiful picture of the gospel here and the fact that Jesus could not go back into the town climaxes the story for us.
Lets look at the story again
A leper comes to Jesus to be made clean because he was ceremonially unclean
Jesus touches the leper and makes him clean
According to the Law anyone who touches a leper is made unclean himself - yet Jesus reverses the law and by touching him makes the leper clean while he himself remains clean.
Jesus tells the leper how to act after being made clean
In contrast to Peter’s mother who serves Jesus, the leper disobeys and lives according to what he thinks is right
The result is that Jesus now suffers the fate of the leper
Unable to enter the town, Jesus is cut off from the community and from the temple and remains in the wilderness where lepers live as unclean.
Jesus assumes the role of the leper so the leper can be in right relationship with God and man
This is the gospel
Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us so that we can
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus has taken our place as sinful unclean people
He suffered the fate of a sinner so we could be made right with God.
He was treated as if he were a leper so the leper could be treated as if he was clean
This is the grace of God!
This is the power of the gospel
As Jesus took hold of Peter’s mother and healed her, and touched the leper to make him clean, Jesus has taken hold of us to raise us, to heal us, and cleans us from all unrighteousness.
Now, will we respond as the leper or as Peters mother? will we serve him or will we disobey him?
This new life he has given us by the power of the cross and the power of the resurrection has not only raised, healed and cleansed us - but has also called us to a life of service to the one who took upon himself our sin so that we might be healed, cleansed and raised from our sin.
This week, look to Jesus
look to the one who has healed you
look to the one who has raised you
look to the one who has cleansed you
embrace the community he has restored you to
worship him, follow him, serve him
Lets pray,
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