February 8, 2021
Mark 1:29-34 (NIV)
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
We are in Capernaum today, a small fishing village on the Sea of Galilee (and we are in your town too, by the way). We left things in a bit of a cliffhanger yesterday. We were in church (aka synagogue) of all places when the first ones to accurately recognize Jesus were the demons who had taken taken up residence in the Chairman of the Finance Committee. (I hear you. Objection your honor! Conjecture! Noted). Well, here’s what happened:
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. (Mark 1:25-26)
Imagine the next Administrative Board Committee meeting. O.K., don’t do that.
Let’s remember what we are doing here. Back to the first prayer for great awakening where we began:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17)
We are seeking to know Jesus better. This requires revelation beyond mere reading. We need “epiphanies,” bursts of Holy Spirit inspired insight and wisdom. We are praying for the eyes of our hearts to be opened so we can “know” (beyond knowledge): 1) The hope to which he has called us, 2) the incredible inheritance of wealth in the saints around us, and 3) his “incomparably great power for us who believe.”
O.K., that’s the long way around the barn for review, but we aren’t reading the Bible to say we’ve read it. We are following Jesus. As he was so he is. And as he was and is, so we are becoming. He didn’t come to earth to issue us a ticket to heaven. He came to fill us with himself so much so that heaven would break in on earth.
Jesus leaves the synagogue and goes along with James and John to the home of Peter and Andrew. Then this:
Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her.
Did you get that? Immediately. They immediately told Jesus about her. Something tells me it was a short step from there to telling her about Jesus. Note the sequence though. Now watch the ordinary, superlative power of this:
So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up.
Get a picture of that in your mind’s eye. God goes to her. Takes her hand. Helps her up.
Saturday began with a text from my Dad (now 80). “Pray for EARLY JOE HE HAS COVID 19. He just found out.”
Earl Lee Joe White, aka “Early Joe,” aka “Sugar Man” has worked on our farm team for almost sixty years. He’s part of the family—even closer than a mother-in-law ;0). He’s particularly at risk. He’s getting up there in years. He has significant pre-existing health challenges. And he’s African American (who are decidedly more vulnerable to Covid19).
So my Dad, (who is now a famous farmer) immediately told Jesus about Early Joe (and our whole family). My Mom went to work on lunch—her famous Chicken Spaghetti, rolls, and the celebrated Cream Cheese Pound Cake, for starters. Covid19 notwithstanding, they loaded up the truck, put on their masks and drove to Watson (aka Capernaum) straight to Early Joe’s house.
Dad sent this text last night:
“Early Joe seems to be doing OK. They really enjoyed the lunch. We will keep checking on him.”
And here’s the text from Peter on his mother-in-law:
The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
Almighty God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—my Lord Jesus Christ, we pray for Early Joe, and for every other person we can name who has Covid19 right now. We pray deliverance from sickness to health. Jesus, what does it look like to go to someone today and take them by the hand and help them up? Even before that, would you reveal, which is to say increase my sense of the immediacy of your presence, power and love—not somewhere “out there” but “in here,” “in me,” “for others”? I want to grow beyond my own capacity to do good things and into your capacity to do impossible things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Where are you in your sense of “Jesus-in-you”? Do you realize that your endless efforts to increase your own capacities get in the way of his limitless capacity to work through you? What would it look like to begin to embrace your own severe limitations; even offering your weakness as your greatest gift to Jesus? This seems wrong. It is right.
For the Awakening,
Register for NIGHT WITH NEW ROOM—Ash Wednesday. It will be a MEETING WITH GOD like we likely have not had before.