Title:Sept 15-16, 2018 Setting III with Holy Communion
Title: The word of God casts out and restores!
Text: Mark 9:14-29
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
Life and death and love and caring are human emotions that have been seen and felt in our own lives many times over the years. It may be a dear family friend who passes away, the sickness of an elderly parent or child, or dear friends and their children who you’ve seen grow up and felt their celebration and joy as well as sorrow and pain.
At time we are brought into the lives of perfect strangers who we comfort or see their grief from afar. The loss of a child is especially hard to deal with and understand. We at times can feel the pain as if it is our own loss.
Last week our text showed us the compassionate Christ as he opened the ears and mouth of a deaf mute who then “spoke plainly.” Not only having his ears and mouth healed but being given the gift of speech, immediately, as Mark so often says in his gospel account.
In today’s reading:
14 And when they [those that had been following Jesus] came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw [Jesus], were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Jesus is known to the people as the one who brings peace, comfort, healing and the things that you and I also find of great value when things in our life need help. And here a voice from the crown answers Jesus’ question.
“Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
A father’s pleading for his son. “I brought him to you … but your disciples were not able.”
The disciples fell short! They missed the mark! What was needed … wasn’t given … to a man in distress.
I can relate, how about you? Have you missed the mark? I think we can all agree with St. Paul.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. … 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:18-24
At times we miss the mark by things we do and at times by things we don’t do.
Last weekend Rally Day was lightly attended. In the past it has been a great even with many beginning the regular schedule with a pot luck and return to Sunday school and Bible Study. I must admit to feeling a bit dejected at the 43 who did come. As I reflected on the weekend on Monday and the sermon for this week … “Oh faithless generation” spoke to me. I felt the weight of burden lifted from me as I looked to the Lord’s good work from last weekend. We welcomed six men members – two couples through transfer, a shut in transfer and an adult instruction and profession of faith and we have has the blessing of visitors in our midst.
Our faith is weak when we look to self and inward. Our focus need to be outward to Jesus and his cross for there is where true salvation and hope is found.
Jesus answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring [the boy] to me.”
What I didn’t want to hear from my boss, the disciples now hear from Jesus … pain and disappointment from the Lord of Glory at their falling short.
Jesus takes control, “Bring him to me.”
The solutions for the problems we face are always best helped when the focus is on Christ. Because the evil foe is Satan and the forces of demonic activity that perplex and attack us and those who remain lost in the world.
This father is grieving for his son as he has been plagued with this demon “From childhood.” We might reasonably look at our own sinful condition and malady as those brought forth in iniquity … conceived and born in sin. Psalm 51:5
But though we have been freed by Christ Jesus through the working of the Holy Spirit, we still remain in our sinful flesh … both Saint and Sinner.
On the one hand we are freed by the grace of God in Christ and have received all things being made new, but at the same time, we are bound to our sinful flesh and wrestle with faith and doubt, belief and unbelief!
The call … “I believe; help my unbelief!” is the call of a believing soul tormented by a demonic foe. We too call daily to God to lift the burden of sin we carry and to comfort us, and bring us peace … the peace … that passes all human understanding.
“You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.”
We too are born into this world dead to God, and it is by God’s command:
“19 Go … make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” that we receive life eternal promised from the lips of our Lord.
Having done a number of baptisms of little children, it always reminds me of this passage when they are baptized because when baptized there is crying out and convulsing. The devil cannot remain but must flee. Where light is, darkness flees.
“He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Death, raised to life and caring, through the sacrificial love of the God man Jesus Christ are what God has given you.
The picture in the today’s lesson shows the condition we too are born and wrestle with. But it also shows god love and power to bring us both from death to life through the means he has provided of word and sacrament but also show the picture of the final gift of God when:
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:52,56
God brings peace, comfort, victory and belief through his means!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!