Why Jesus Came Out
Mark 1:38. Fourth week after Epiphany.
Professions and vocations serve a function. Every mother, father, child, teacher, police officer, firefighter, attorney, and politician has a purpose. Basketball players and musicians, plumbers and carpenters, motivational speakers and financial advisors have a function. Their vocation may be to entertain, teach, motivate, or fix houses. Every person has a vocation, function, or office; most people have several other vocations in addition to their career activities.
What about God and his only beloved Son, Jesus Christ? Why did Jesus Christ go from one town to another and place-to-place? What is Christ’s office, or function? Well, along with His suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus impacts the World by the Preaching of God’s Word.
So in our lesson for today, where did Jesus’ preaching fit into his total ministry? Jesus—going about His ministry . . . Has been at the synagogue at Capernaum—perhaps for the Sabbath. After that, He Entered into the house of Peter and Andrew with James and John. There, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law stricken with a fever. Jesus Lifted her up, and the fever left her and she served them. That was a noteworthy action that built-up the faith of the disciples.
And later, at sundown, after the Sabbath ended, Jesus received crowds who continually brought to Him those afflicted by illness and demons. He healed many. Jesus expelled demons. It was a long and productive night. I’ll bet that Jesus was tired.
The next morning, VERY EARLY in the morning, Jesus left the disciples to pray alone. But then, Jesus is hunted down by the disciples. When they find Him, Jesus announces His function, or purpose. Jesus says, “Let’s go to neighboring towns so that I might proclaim the kingdom of God there too.” That is why Jeus came! Jesus’ ministry is going from His home to his town, to the neighboring town, then into all of Galilee, and ultimately to the ends of the earth preaching that God’s kingdom has come and then proving He is telling us the truth by healing the sick and casting out demons! So, looking even closer at our text, “What does Christ’s preaching of the Word mean for us?”
First, we can see that Jesus’ preaching is eternally genuine, true, and omnipotent. The Words and truth of Jesus’ preaching speak to us in ways that uncover the sins we may try to hide, but those same words set us free and bring us joy instead of shame. Jesus’ preaching lifts us up and tells us that we are beloved children whom God calls “His own.” We belong and we have hope because Jesus has redeemed us by His blood.
Second, Jesus’ preaching heals our greatest illnesses—our continued rejection of our Father’s will, our unbelief, our sin, and even our death. Because Jesus has borne all of our sins and griefs on the cross and has paid their penalties on our behalf, we have moved from death into life, and no one can rob us of Christ’s victory.
And lastly, Jesus’ preaching has the power to make as big an impact today as it did when Jesus Himself spoke. In our account, we saw how Peter’s mother-in-law, was touched by Jesus in order to serve out of faith and love. We hear the Gospel, and it moves us to serve and love others too. And like the disciples who hunted down Jesus the morning after the Sabbath, we are invited to hunt down Jesus at Bible studies, devotions, in Holy Communion, and in Confession and Absolution. Our hunger for the Bread of life is driven by Jesus’ preaching, and we respond to it with excitement and a continued desire to be fed. And this excitement we feel about Jesus’ preaching even encourages us (like the crowds in our lesson) to bring others to Jesus to be spiritually healed by His touch and His preaching. Many who are here today were brought here or invited here by a friend or loved one who recognized and valued the gift of Jesus’ preaching in their own lives and wanted you to share in their joy and encouragement.
So, even though we may not have the opportunity to walk in Jesus’ footsteps throughout Galilee, God still empowers His Church to respond powerfully to the preaching of His Word. The Holy Spirit blesses believers to continue the preaching of Christ Jesus (be about the mission of the Church). And by the same Word of God that we preach, Christ enables us to share in His work of going and making disciples of all nations. Within the church, Christ validates the promise of His forgiveness as we preach and practice absolving repentant sinners. And through preaching Christ’s atoning work on the cross and administering the Sacraments as Jesus commands us, God continues to accomplish the healing and salvation of sin-sick souls.
Jesus came out from heaven to do many things including heal the sick and cast out demons, but His main purpose was to preach His Good News. And Jesus continues to do this faithful and life-giving work through preachers and His body of believers, the Church.