02032019 Epiphany 4/5 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Jesus heals us so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”

 

02032019 Epiphany 4/5 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

February 3, 2019
“Jesus heals us so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”

Sermon Audio

 

This mornings Gospel lesson has many great gems for us to consider this morning.  It ends with Jesus preaching in the synagogues of Judea and begins with His healing the demon possessed, many who could identify Him as the Christ.  Even one of His own disciples, Simon’s mother-in-law was healed. What is so clear is that Jesus has a purpose, some would say it was clearly to heal many of the maladies of the day.  Others that Jesus purpose was to go to every synagogue and show He was the ‘rightful leader’ of the Jews. Yet, the reality is, Jesus sees His purpose through different glasses. He clearly wants to connect with the people on a level that the priests and physicians couldn’t.  Jesus purpose in healing and going to the synagogues was to proclaim the Good News so we who gather here today would be connected with Him. Simply, “Jesus heals so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”

When we hear that phrase, “Great Commission” it points to Jesus last Words on earth and the mission to proclaim the Gospel we heard about last week of the ‘Good News’.  This ‘Good News’ was the mission and purpose for Jesus in order for people to believe His message of the ‘Good News’. So, Jesus had to get their attention. What better way than to heal people.  This is how the culture of Jesus day worked and how the message gained traction. Yet, it wasn’t just about the healing, Jesus had a long term plan to insure we who gather here today would hear about the ‘Good News’ today, hence, why “Jesus heals so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”

Jesus desire was for the message of salvation to be delivered as a result of getting people’s attention.  We are no different today. Drive up and down any interstate or even William Penn Highway and we have large signs, billboards and attention grabbers.  The modern signs include the electronic displays that change or show images that get our attention even driving at 55 or 70 miles per hour. Some have even thought we should put one up at the end of our driveway to ‘get people’s attention’ so they know we are here.  But the message that Jesus was proclaiming wasn't about 21st Century impact. For Jesus His healing ‘got the people’s attention’ and after the healing, Jesus then would tell them that this was only an earthly healing. If they wanted an eternal healing of eternal life, they would need to hear about the ‘Good News’ and then tell others about it.  Therefore, they would then fulfill Jesus ultimate plan that pointed to why “Jesus heals so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”

When Jesus healed the demon possessed, the lame and the blind and even Simon’s mother-in-law the purpose behind it was eternity with Him.  We who gather here today look to that end as well, but like a journey of a thousand miles, it begins with our taking the first step. And the first step in our journey is our fulfilling the Great Commission.  It’s about our cultivating relationships with not only the people who call Emmanuel ‘their church’ but also and more so the people who need to hear the Good News of the Great Commission. We are called as Jesus followers to reach out to the least of these and share the message of salvation, because of Jesus love for us and for all of mankind.  “Jesus heals so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”

The Great Commission allows each of us to be the bearer of the greatest message modern mankind has ever heard.  There was once a man who became a missionary and spent his entire career in the mission field. He and his wife spent their entire lives with one tribe of indigenous people.  When he died, his wife left the tribe in utter distress, believing their ministry had not had any kingdom impact. It was devastating and she was never the same.

Fast forward 85 years and another missionary found the same tribe of people, the previous missionary had dedicated his life to on the mission field.  To his utter surprise, the second missionary found a thriving Christian community that when the seed had been planted had not borne any apparent fruit.  But now, because of the first missionary, was a living, thriving and loving community where the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the stories of healing and eternal life had taken root, emerged and borne fruit, unknowingly to the first missionary and his wife.

We who come here and hear the Gospel of our salvation, the Good News proclaimed that sends us forth in the Great Commission are no different than the first missionary.  We may return because we feel we have not had an impact upon or with anyone. But God’s Word will not return to Him without accomplishing His purpose and the stories of what Jesus Christ did, Who Jesus Christ was and still is and Jesus mission in the Great Commission.  As we depart today Jesus Christ is calling each of us today to go and be the people of God in our community, because, “Jesus heals so we can fulfill the Great Commission!”  AMEN.