Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sermon -- 12th Sunday after Trinity (September 7, 2014)

MARK 7:31-37
JESUS PROVIDES EVERLASTING HEALING.

In the name + of Jesus.

     The world is a mess, and you cannot fix it.  People are dying, and you cannot stop it.  You’d rather hear better news, because it is both terrifying and exhausting to hear about so many problems.  Ice bucket challenges flood social media in hopes to find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Ebola has become an epidemic in western Africa.  Americans get nervous then they hear that missionaries from Africa are coming back to America to be treated for the Ebola virus.  It seems we would rather have people dead than treated so that we do not run the risk of being infected.  Hospitals keep adding on.  Researchers keep crafting new drugs.  The list of bugs, viruses, diseases, and illnesses goes on and on. 
     The world is a mess, and you cannot fix it.  Nevertheless, we certainly try.  It has been said that 15% of our economy is the health industry.  We look to pharmaceuticals for the answer.  Presidential and congressional campaigns spend a great deal of time talking about health care.  People are either outraged because they like the health insurance they have and they don’t want the government to mess it up, or they think that health insurance is a mess and they want the government to clean it up.  Many say they are too sickly to come to church, but they will never miss a doctor’s appointment.  We are a nation obsessed with health.  We spend a tremendous amount of money to prolong life and its quality.  And still, people are dying and you can’t stop it.
     This is not the world God created or intended.  But once sin entered the world, a curse fell upon it.  And so genes mutate.  Viruses invade the body.  And people are born both blind and deaf.  While the story of Helen KellerNormal
     Decapolis a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. (Mark 7:32)  This man and his friends sought healing so that he could once again speak and hear.  They were not disappointed.  Taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.  And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”  And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7:34-35)  Jesus had mercy on the man who was deaf and mute.  By the way he tended to his man, Jesus demonstrated that he understood his particular need.  He touched the man’s tongue, as if to say: “This is your problem, isn’t it?”  Jesus heaved a heavy sigh, so that the man who could not hear his prayer could see it.  Then, the Word made flesh gave the word: “Be opened!” Jesus provided the healing for the deaf and mute man. 
     They were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well.  He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (Mark 7:37)St.
     Although Jesus demonstrated such mercy, he did not do it for showmanship.  Jesus charged them to tell no one.  But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. (Mark 7:36)  It is not hard to figure out why the people kept talking about it.  Who wouldn’t want an instant cure-all for every bump, bruise, or broken body?  If our church boasted of miraculous healings, people would come flooding into our doors instead of going to Providence Park.  And they probably would not come for any other reason.  Though many could be happy, they would still remain sinners.  And though many could be healed, they would still die—and worse! they would die in their sins.  If this is the result, then even Satan would be pleased to heal your diseases!
     Therefore, Jesus urged the people to keep silent about his healings.  Jesus had a greater healing in mind.  Jesus provides everlasting healing.  This was accomplished by removing from you the corruption of sin which brings guilt, decay, destruction, and death.  For, if sin is removed, then the curse of sin is taken away too.  And if the curse of sin is taken away, you will never again have to deal with aches and pains, sickness and weakness, or even death.
     So Jesus provides the perfect healing you need by his holy and precious blood.  It is the life of Jesus that was given as the remedy for all sin and evil, for all death and damnation.  “He took our illness and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17)  He bore our guilt and its curse.  He died our death and suffered our damnation.  Jesus Christ has taken away from us everything that is corrupt, warped, and messed up.  By his blood, Jesus cleanses us of all sin and heals us of every disease.  Jesus provides everlasting healing.
     All of these things are true, though it does not look like it.  After all, you may still be carrying your disease or disability.  You may be weak and frail.  You are getting older.  Your immunity is fading.  Your bones are getting more brittle.  At the same time, you also have not stopped sinning.  But recognize what Jesus does.  He has not stripped you of your sinful flesh or abducted you from a broken world.  You still live here as a sinner in a sinful place.  What Jesus does do is serve as your refuge in your sins and as your hope in this sinful place.  He declares that you are forgiven, that you are blameless, and that you are one has victory over death.  Jesus makes you children of the resurrection.  And it is then that you will have everything you have ever prayed for or hoped for.
     At the resurrection of all flesh, you will finally see and experience the perfect healing you wish you could have now.  It will not be the temporary fix you are familiar with.  You will not get eternal refills of ibuprofen or medications.  You will be raised with a body that will never be broken or bruised.  You will be delivered to a world of righteousness that will never know corruption or destruction.  You will have a life that will never be messed up again.  That is the everlasting healing that Jesus provides to you.  By his sufferings and death, Jesus delivers you from every curse of sin.  By his resurrection, Jesus delivers you from every mark of sin and every memory of evil.
     In the meantime, the Lord has graciously provided you with doctors, hospitals, and the best medicines known in the world’s history.  Through these, the Lord provides temporary relief and healing.  But these are all temporary, and sometimes they fail.  But Jesus will not fail you.  Jesus forgives all your sins.  He is the remedy for your death and your grave.  Jesus provides everlasting healing.  He grants you resurrection from the grave.  And he brings you to a life of everlasting health, wholeness, and holiness.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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