Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Be Thankful: Serve!

Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
Mark 1:23-25, 29-31

In the above passage, Jesus shows His hearers, in very tangible ways, that the kingdom of God has truly come. He does this by driving demons out of those they possess and healing illnesses. Though I wouldn't quite call activities such as these routine, they were a quite common part of Jesus' ministry. The reason for this is quite simple. The Bible tells us what the kingdom of God will be like (Isaiah 29:18, 35:5-6, 53:4-5, 61). It's the world as it should be. In the kingdom no one is demon possessed, sick, lame, blind, or deaf. So one way that Jesus can prove that the kingdom of God has truly come in Him is by driving out demons and healing the sick. So this is exactly what he does! And Jesus is able to do this because He has the authority to do so. Jesus is God incarnate, God in human form, the God/man, Immanuel (God with us). He has authority over demons and over disease and so He goes about setting His children free from these shackles that sin has placed on them. 

I love that the Bible records the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, because in such an understated way she shows us how we should react to this shackle-removing work of Christ. Once Jesus heals her, what does she do? She immediately sets out to serve Him and His disciples. Our response to Christ's work really is that simple. When Christ sets us free from what entangles us, whether that be sin, illness, demon possession, or something else, the appropriate response of a thankful heart is faithful service. Thus, in Peter's mother-in-law we have an excellent picture of what all of us as Christians should be doing. Are you thankful for what Jesus has done for you? If so, have you found your place of service in the kingdom? Since Jesus is no longer on this earth, the best way we can serve Him now is by serving His bride the church, and through that service to aid the church in bringing more and more people to a saving knowledge of Him. Are you showing your thankfulness by serving the people of God?

For further reading...
  • Luke 10:9, 11:20- Notice the close connection between the healing of the sick and the driving out of demons with the acknowledgment that the kingdom of God has come near.
  • Matthew 11:2-6- Notice what proof Jesus gives to John the Baptist's disciples that He truly is the Messiah.
  • Isaiah 29:1835:5-653:4-561- Read some Old Testament Passages about what kind of kingdom the Messiah would bring with Him.

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