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2-3-19 Sermon

Epiphany - Luke 4:31-44

There is certainly no shortage of affliction in our world today. Illness, injury, heartache, those who are haunted by demons of the present or the past; those who are afflicted by disasters both natural and man-made, those whom satan has in his crosshairs and will not leave alone.

 

In the Gospel for today first of all, there is the man who had a demon. Then we hear about Simon Peter’s mother-in-law having a high fever, and finally when the Sabbath was over, countless people who were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus and He helped them.

 

And Jesus still helps now. Our LORD has not abandoned us. He is with us - He is the one working through medicine, doctors, technology, and science. It is by His gracious hand that we’ve made advancements in medicine. AND He is still working.

 

But the question we ask is: Why are some healed and not others? That’s the question we’ve all asked. Some might think the lack of healing is God’s punishment or condemnation or that God does not see and does not care. That is not true.

 

When we look at the world, and ourselves we see all the afflictions, the problems, and troubles. Jesus sees them too, but He sees things differently than we do, He sees the cause, of all pain and suffering, which is sin. Sin attacks us in body and soul. Sin causes pain, and disappointment. Sin chews us up and spits us out. Sin ultimately leads to death.

 

Sin is the real problem. The healings and the exorcisms Jesus did points, to the greater work that Jesus has come to do: The work of forgiveness which comes through the cross. For the cross and resurrection of Jesus is the culmination of all His other work and miracles. His work is not just for a short time, but also for eternity.

 

And this is what Jesus means in the last part of the Gospel when He leaves to do that for which He was sent—namely be crucified. That’s why He will not let the demons speak. Yes, they know who He is, but they do not know of the cross and the sacrifice. For what they say is partially true, but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That happens quite often in the world in which we live. People will twist the words of Jesus, to their own advantage. We have redefined sin to make out actions acceptable. We have legalized abortion—but in God’s eyes it is still taking an innocent life. In the end, what good will that do?

But the LORD has not forgotten us. He went obediently to go to the cross to provide ultimate healing and release for all. For by the cross, Jesus crushes the evil one. By the cross, Jesus releases all who are captive to sin. By the cross, Jesus gives life to the dead.

What we see happen in Galilee that day was just the beginning. Jesus left heaven to bring true healing to all – for that is the purpose for which He was sent. There is no greater love than what Jesus did for humanity. His love is what Paul spoke to the church in Corinth. We hear those words and look for that kind of love in the world today. apart from CHRIST such love is not to be found. Only His is a love, which never ends. Only His is a love, which bears all things. Only His is the love of the cross, the most excellent way.

And so in love He came for us, to be afflicted with our affliction, and to lay down His life for us. That joining us in our death, we may join Him in His life. His life that no sickness, disease, poverty, or death can take away.

So we confess Jesus: I believe, not in CHRIST the miracle worker, but in CHRIST the crucified. I believe in the Son of God who traded His life for mine. I believe The Holy One of God who made us His own--for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish forever-- a union that death cannot separate.

 

Do you believe that Jesus is for you? That He hears you cry and knows your pain? es Jesus know we live in the midst of so many dangers?

Yes, He knows even better than we do. He knows our weakness and offers us His strength. He is our life and we need look nowhere else. For whatever comes in this life, we have all we need in Him.

Open your hearts to Him who laid down His life for you. Jesus the CHRIST is your God, your Savior--Your help and your hope. You’re not alone.

If we have all we need in Him, then we can share that hope with others in their need; to show them the love, forgiveness, and life of the cross.