Both You And Your Family Will Be Saved
February 5, 2006
日本キリスト教団 頌栄教会牧師 清弘剛生 Pastor Takao Kiyohiro, Shoei Church, Church of Christ, Japan
Translator M.A.F., Indiana, USA
1. Last week we read the passage that tells about the events that took place in a synagogue on a certain Sabbath day. Today's reading of the gospel recounts three short tales that come next. Today we are going to start by reading ahead to what happened that evening at Simon's house (the second clip), and then the next morning when Jesus prayed (the third clip), then after that I would like for us to go back to the first anecdote.
When The Evening Came And The Sun Set
2. Let's read from verses thirty-two to thirty-four. "When the evening came and the sun set, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and those oppressed by evil spirits. The townspeople were gathered at the door. Jesus healed the crowds of people afflicted with various diseases, and also, he drove out many evil spirits and he did not permit the evil spirits to say a thing; for, the evil spirits knew Jesus," (verses thirty-two through thirty-four).
3. In verse twenty-eight it is written that "The fame of Jesus spread rapidly into every nook and corner of the region of Galilee." I don't exactly think that [his reputation] spread all over the Galil in one day, but quite a few people heard by word of mouth what had happened at the synagogue that day. A lot of people heard something of the rumors and so they brought their sick and demon-possessed people [to Jesus].
4. Jesus healed the many who had gathered. In addition, he expelled many evil spirits. There are a large number of healing stories like this in the gospels. I called them "healing stories" but, what Jesus was performing was in no simple sense "medical treatment." In that sense he is different from, for example, what the physician Luke was doing. As we see by reading it once, this is clearly written as a divine miracle. In other words, it is written as having happened because the power of God was at work there. Of course, I don't really need to say anything about expelling the demons. The divine authority expelled the evil spirits and set the people free. In other words, recorded in this passage is the situation in which "God appeared with power and authority" in the person of Jesus.
5. God came with power, the power of God was at work. As a result people were healed. In my speech here I have been connecting these two things as rightfully related. -- Isn't that strange to you? Is it right to connect these two things together? No, it doesn't seem right at all to me. Whenever God truly comes with authority and the power of God is really at work, you should be expecting there to be the bringing down of judgment and destruction. But, on the contrary, whenever a person thinks how will he or she [ever] live in God's presence, the truth is that the power of God does not come down in condemnation. When God's power appears in a real way, and healing takes place as a result of it, we should not take it for granted as the deserved course of action. An undeserving, non-obligatory act took place. [And] it happened in Jesus Christ.
6. Since the power of God, though having visited, did not bring destruction, but instead it brought healing and it brought deliverance, the assumption behind all this is "the forgiveness of sin." Basically, the deeds of Jesus are an expression of "the forgiveness of sin." The people who were there weren't only the healed people because there were also those who had brought the sick. You can't experience healing unless you're sick. Wherever Jesus performed his deeds, I don't think that all the people were always healed necessarily. However, the people, including the healed or those who weren't, certainly saw the grace of God, who drew near to them and came with forgiveness. They were touched by the grace of God. That's what's important. Basically, the healing deeds of Jesus in and of themselves are a part of the preaching message telling forth the grace of God.
7. This is deeply related to the third short account as well. Beginning with verse thirty-five, the text reads as follows. "Early in the morning while still dark, Jesus got up, went off to a solitary place, and prayed there. Simon and the others chased after Jesus and when they found him, they said, 'Everybody is searching for you.' Jesus said, 'Let's go to the other towns and villages nearby. I will preach there too. I came out for this purpose.' Then, he went to the synagogues throughout Galilee, he preached and he drove out evil spirits," (verses thirty-five through thirty-nine).
8. Being described here is the figure of Jesus in prayer. It is the figure of Jesus Christ while in deep fellowship with God the Father. The will of God the Father as shown in prayer is what was prodding Jesus Christ along. Where was the will of God leading the Lord? Where was Jesus heading as he prayed?
9. When we search for the figure of the praying Jesus as we read this gospel, we will arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane. "Abba, o father, you can do anything. Please take this cup away from me. Yet, not what I desire, but let what suits your will be done," (Mark 14:36). Then, where was he [at] the end? He was on a cross. That was the final figure of prayer that Jesus showed.
10. The Lord said, "Let's go to the other towns and villages nearby. I will preach there too. I came out for this purpose." Thus, Jesus went about proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God. He went about healing those who were ill and driving out evil spirits. Jesus, as he preached, must have known quite well why he could say, "Repent and believe the gospel!," why he could say God has come with his forgiveness, and why are healings taking place, and people are being touched by God's mercy. And why was that? It was because the atoning sacrifice for sin was about to be slain. As Jesus prayed and was led by God, he was heading to the cross in order to personally become the sin-atoning sacrifice. [He did it] in order that we too might hear the message of the forgiveness of sins and partake of God's grace as we assemble in the church and listen to the message of the gospel two thousand years later.
To Simon And Andrew's House
11. So with that, I would like for us to go back to the first story. I will read to you from verses twenty-nine to thirty-one. "Right away, the group departed the synagogue and went to Simon and Andrew's house. They were with James and John also. Since Simon's mother-in-law had a fever and was sleeping, the people immediately told Jesus about her. Jesus approached her, and when he raised her up by the hand, the fever departed, and she entertained them all," (verses twenty-nine to thirty-one).
12. This, too, is a healing story. But, I think it is very strange when I think of why this story was especially written separately. For example, the story of the expelling of the evil spirits which we saw last week, the healing of the paralytic in chapter two and later on the stories of a blind person being able to see and a deaf person being healed and being able to hear also appear in the text, as stories written separately. A story is even written of a daughter who was supposed to have been dead, but she came back to life. Among these sensational and numerous miracles, doesn't the miracle story of "Simon's mother-in-law's fever going down" seem so plain a story? Of course, because it was in antiquity, this may have been life related. Therefore, it may not be that small of a thing, but I can't shake the feeling that it is a completely different kind [of healing story] after all is said and done. I wonder why this was being passed on as one of the stories?
13. Perhaps one reason this story was recorded might be that this healed person was none other than "Simon's mother-in-law." But, maybe more than that even, this must have been stored in their minds as a very hard to forget and impressive thing that happened to Simon and Andrew. It was the event when Jesus went to their house. As we understand from later details, that house would become a base for Jesus' preaching activities while in Capernaum.
14. This gospel reports the circumstances when Peter and Andrew became disciples as an event on the same exact day as that. When you consider the flow [of events], this scene becomes interestingly rich. Please recall what was written in chapter one and verses sixteen and following. Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, "Come and follow me." Whereupon, "Both of them gave up their nets and followed [him]," says the text. They didn't put up their nets for the time being. What they "gave up their nets" means is that they "quit being fishermen." Should they have made such a major decision without having discussed it with their family? At least in this gospel, though, the text seems to say that they all of a sudden without consulting anyone, quit their jobs, and followed after Jesus. Then, afterwards, Peter says this to Jesus, "Just as you told us, we have given it all up and have followed you," (10:28). That was their awareness of [the situation]. They were following [Jesus] with the thought that "I will follow him even to the end of the earth," "Even if I must die with [you], I will follow you."
15. When they followed [Jesus], the first [place] he went into was a synagogue in which a Sabbath service was being held. They too sat in it with him. Then, as we read last week, in that place of worship, they witnessed an astonishing thing. The people unanimously said, "It's a new and authoritative teaching!" Perhaps Peter and Andrew were more excited than anyone else who was there. We didn't make a mistake in our decision to follow Him, [now did we?]! [What] a new and authoritative teaching, no doubt! We'll be proclaiming the kingdom of God with Him and becoming fishers of people. [We'll] follow Him even to the end of the earth! Can't you [just about] hear these throbbing chests of theirs? They would surely listen to Jesus. Where would Jesus go next? [We'll] follow [you] anywhere! Whereupon, Jesus says, "Okay, I shall decide where to go -- to your house." That is the scene which today's passage of scripture is reporting.
16. [The place] Jesus is heading straight for is my house, wow! When [we] began to follow Jesus, [one of the] first [places we] head for is our own house, woah! This must have been an event left behind in an intense way in both the memories of Simon and Andrew. Furthermore, I think there are not a few who have experienced this kind of thing among generations of Christians, as well as among ourselves here in this place. There have been people in no small numbers who thought, "Yeah, that's exactly right," after hearing this. That's why such a story has been left behind.
17. Jesus calls out to [all], "Come and follow me." [We] say, "Yes" to his call out to [us] and [we] follow. In a certain sense, that relationship is one in which no one else comes between. While a person is alive, he or she must make many different choices and decisions. During those times, we will consult with a variety of folks. At times we consult with family. It may be important to do that. But, in matters related to faith, even if [we] have consulted with friends and family, the words of human beings will not finally decide it [for us]. The decision will come from Jesus and me. Nobody can come between [us] there, even if they are blood relatives. The phrase, "Immediately [they both] gave up their nets," expresses that [very concept].
18. And it's not over after that. It was Peter's house that Jesus went to as he brought along Peter who had given up his nets and followed [Jesus] without even consulting his family. So then, what happened at [his house]? Jesus lifted Simon's mother-in-law by the hand. The term translated "lift" can also be translated "be resurrected from the dead." That [term] must hearken back to this as a symbolic event which points to baptism whereby one is raised from the dead and participates in the resurrection life. Then what did Simon's mother-in-law do? The scripture says, she "entertained them all," (verse thirty-one). The term, "to entertain," is the word "to serve, to minister to" which is often used in church. The healed lady served Jesus and his disciples. And before too long, in the truest sense, she would become a person who would serve the Lord, serve the church, and serve the people. This kind of thing takes place in our families too. Later on Paul and Silas put this same thing in another expression. "Believe on the Lord Jesus. If you do, then both you and your family will be saved," (Acts 16:31).
19. So, as we've seen earlier, that evening, when the sun set, a lot of people gathered at Peter's. Many people at his house were healed by Jesus. Both the ones who brought [folks] and the ones healed were touched by the grace of God in [Peter's house]. Peter's home became a place for people to meet God's grace. Then after that, many have been experiencing "Peter's house" [like] that because the homes of believers became the meeting house for the church in its early phase. The situation may be different for today's church. But yet, it is still happening: the houses of believers, their homes, do still become places where people are touched by the grace of God.