The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

February 7, 2021

 

SERVICE OF THE WORD

This service offers the congregation a form of worship that focuses on the proclamation of God’s Word.  Believers respond to this divine gift with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.  The service begins on page 38 in the front of the hymnal.

 

M:       We worship today in the name of our Triune God— God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

C:        Amen

Confession of Sins

M:       We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve Him as His dear children.  But we have disobeyed Him and deserve only His wrath and punishment.  Therefore, let us confess our sins to Him and plead for His mercy.

C:        Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth.  In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child.  But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray:  Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love.  Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.

M:       God, our heavenly Father has forgiven all your sins.  By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has removed your guilt forever.  You are His own dear child.  May God give you strength to live according to His will.

C:        Amen.

Prayer and Praise

M:       In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord.

C:        Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed are they who take refuge in Him.  Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Your faithfulness continues forever.  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed are they who take refuge in Him.

 

PRAYER OF THE DAY

M:       Let us pray.

 Almighty God, you sent your one and only Son as the Word of life for our eyes to see and our ears to hear.  Help us believe what the Scriptures proclaim about Him and do the things that are pleasing in your sight; we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:     Amen

The Word

FIRST LESSON – Job 7:1-7

Life is often hard, and it can easily seem futile.  Our hope is in the fact that God does remember us.

 Does not man have hard service on earth?  Are not his days like those of a hired man?  Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me.  When I lie down I think, “How long before I get up?”  The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.  My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering.  My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.  Remember, O God that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.  (NIV1984)

 PSALM OF THE DAY – Psalm 103

Praise the LORD, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise His holy Name.

He forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases;

He redeems your life from the grave

and crowns you with love and compassion.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His love for those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has He removed our transgressions from

us.

As a father has compassion on his children,

so the LORD has compassion on those who fear

Him;

For He knows how we are formed,

He remembers that we are dust.

Our days are like grass, like a flower of the field;

the wind blows over it and it is gone.

But the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him

from everlasting to everlasting.

            Glory be to the Father and to the Son

and to the Holy Spirit,

            as it was in the beginning,

                        is now, and will be forever.  Amen

 

SECOND LESSON – 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Paul could not boast about being an apostle; he had not volunteered.  God called him and made him an obedient servant to build the Church of God.

 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.  Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.  What then is my reward?  Just this:  that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.  Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.  (NIV1984)

 VERSE OF THE DAY

Alleluia.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Alleluia. (John 8:12)

CAlleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is

       the Christ, the Son of God.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

GOSPEL LESSON – Mark 1:29-39  (Sermon Text)

Shortly after His baptism, Jesus returns to Galilee.  Jesus shows that the Kingdom of God has come in might and mercy.

 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 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.  That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed:  “Everyone is looking for you!”  Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come.”  So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.  (NIV1984)

 C:        Praise be to you, O Christ!

 SERMON  A Day in the Life of Christ

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

If you wanted to find out what it is like to be a police officer, what might you do?  You might begin by simply talking to a police officer and asking them what their typical day is like.  You might see if you could go on a “ride along.”  I’m not sure if police departments do this anymore, but there was a time when you could ride along with a police officer and see for yourself what their day was like.

Many companies have a “Bring Your Child to Work Day.”  Why?  It gives your child an opportunity to see firsthand what their Mom or Dad does on a typical day.

Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Michigan has a program called “Taste of Ministry.”  The purpose of the program is to give their students the opportunity to spend a few days with a teacher or a pastor thereby giving them a “taste” of what it is like to be a full-time public servant in God’s Church.  The goal is to encourage them to continue their training for full time ministry.

Here in our sermon text for today God the Holy Spirit gives us a glimpse of what a typical day may have been like for our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Using the theme:  A Day in the Life of Christ, let’s see how a typical day in the life of Christ included three things.  First, let’s see that a typical day in the life of Christ was filled with compassion.  Then let’s see that a typical day in the life of Christ focused on setting aside time for prayer.  Finally, let’s see that a typical day in the life of Christ was focused on proclaiming the Truth.

Mark begins our text by showing us Jesus’ compassion for the individual child of God.  He writes, “As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the house of Simon and Andrew.  Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they 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.”

In a very simple straightforward way Mark informs us that Peter’s mother-in-law had a fever that was serious enough that it kept her in bed.  Luke (the physician) describes it as “a high fever” (Luke 4:38).  Then in a very simple straightforward way Mark informs us that Jesus went to her, compassionately “took her hand and helped her up.”  Immediately, the fever left her.  Now normally, when a person has a fever that confines them to their bed, even after the fever finally breaks, they still feel weak and tired.  But as soon as Jesus took this woman by the hand and helped her up, as soon as the fever left her, Peter’s mother-in-law felt strong enough to “wait on” them.  Not only does this show us how complete Jesus’ healing was, but it also shows us that Peter’s mother-in-law wanted to openly express her thankfulness to Jesus for His compassionate healing!

News about this miraculous healing spread very quickly.  And so after the sun had set, after the Sabbath day was over, Mark tells us, “The people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”

Here we see how the compassion of Jesus overflowed from personal concern for Peter’s mother-in-law to a more comprehensive concern for “many” who needed His help— both those who were suffering from “various diseases” as well as those who were suffering from “demon- possession.”  I think it is noteworthy that in the original Greek of verse 32 a more literal translation of “The people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed” would be, “They were bringing to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.”  The Holy Spirit wants us to picture a continuous steady stream of suffering people who were being brought to the home of Simon and Andrew so that they could be healed by Jesus of Nazareth.  How many of these suffering people did Jesus turn away?  How many of these suffering people was Jesus unable to heal?  None!  That reveals to us both the depth of Jesus’ compassion as well as the extent of Jesus’ power!

As we continue looking at a typical day in the life of Christ, Mark highlights an extremely important part of the daily life of our Savior.  He says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed:  ‘Everyone is looking for you!’”

Jesus anticipated that the steady stream of people who came to the house last night to be healed would continue in the morning.  So He got up before anyone else in the house and went to find a place where He could talk to His heavenly Father in peace and quiet.  That’s how important prayer was in the daily life of Christ.  Even though Jesus knew how important it was for Him to be alone so that He could pray to His heavenly Father, Mark tells us that He was not alone for long.  First His disciples came looking for Him.  When they found Him, they told Him, “Everyone is diligently searching for you!”

How did Jesus respond?  Mark continues, “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else— to the nearby villages— so I can preach there too.  That is why I have come.’  So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”

Here is where we see that Jesus’ daily agenda was focused on His words, “So I can preach there too.”  The word which is translated here as “preach” very literally means, “to proclaim.”  What did Jesus “proclaim”?  Mark answered that question when he said in chapter one, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  ‘The time has come,’ he said.  ‘The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:14, 15)

All of the miracles that Jesus performed, all of the times Jesus’ compassion led Him to “heal many who had various diseases,” all of the times Jesus used His divine power to “drive out many demons”— in each and every case Jesus’ purpose was never to impress the crowds that were coming to Him.  The purpose of all of Jesus’ miracles was to emphasize and substantiate the message that He was “proclaiming” to them!  Jesus wanted people to understand that He not only had the power to grant them physical healing, but He also had the message that had the power to grant them spiritual healing— eternal healing for their soul.  That’s why miraculous healing and powerful preaching were the hallmarks of Jesus’ day-to-day ministry here on this earth.  His mission, the mission His heavenly Father had given to Him, was to redeem sinners like you and me, to seek and to save the lost.

Showing compassion to others, prioritizing a time to pray, and proclaiming the Good News to as many people as He could— that is a very accurate description of a day in the life of Christ.  I would like to suggest to you that you can also view those three things as a very accurate description of a day in the life of a Christian— including yourself!  How so?  Let’s think this through.

Mark tells us that Jesus got up very early in the morning so that He was sure to have enough time to talk with His heavenly Father in prayer.  Can you think of a better way to start your day— or if it works better for you, to end your day?  We would all do well to schedule a specific time when we are going to sit down with our Bible, listen as God speaks to us through His holy Word and then on the basis of what we read we can then pray to our heavenly Father.  If our reading from Scripture reminds us of where we are falling short of God’s expectations for us, we pray for His forgiveness.  If our reading from Scripture reminds us of what God has done to save us from our sins (Pointing to the cross) then our prayer will overflow with thanks and praise to Him.  If our reading from Scripture reminds us of what our God wants us to do or how our God wants us to live, we pray to Him and ask Him to give us the strength and the guidance we need.  If our reading from Scripture leads us to think about a family member or a friend or something that is going on in the world around us, we pray to the Almighty and ask for His help.

Mark also tells us today that Jesus was filled with so much compassion for others that He used His divine power to “heal many who had various diseases and drive out many demons.”  While we don’t have that kind of power— we can have that kind of compassion!  When we look around us it is so very easy for us to see people who are hurting.  There are people who have physical problems.  There are people who have emotional problems.  There are people who have spiritual problems.  Reach out to them in Christ-like compassion.  If there is anything that you can do to help alleviate their physical suffering, then do it!  If having an ear to bend or a shoulder to cry on will help soothe their emotion pain, then be willing to “be there,” be willing to listen.  If you honestly don’t have a specific individual to whom you could extend a Christ-like compassion, this pandemic has made it clear that there are many organizations that you can support, organizations that can help large groups of people.  And don’t overlook Synod.  Our Synod has many opportunities for you to show Christ-like compassion to people all across the world!

For the people who have spiritual problems, follow the example that Christ gives to us here in our text and “proclaim” to them the Truth of Scripture.  If someone is caught in Satan’s deadly web of sin, “proclaim” to them the message of God’s Law and call them to repentance.  If someone is burdened by the guilt of their sin, “proclaim” to them the Good News of what Jesus has done for them.  (Pointing to the across)  And when you fold your hands and bow your head in prayer always include everyone who needs the help that only the God of heaven can give— whether it is to those who are suffering from physical problems, to those who are struggling with emotional problems or to those who are wandering aimlessly through this world lost in the darkness of unbelief.

In a very simple straightforward way Mark gives us a glimpse into a day in the life of Christ.  It is a day that is marked by compassion, by prayer and by proclaiming God’s Truth.  May the good Lord help us to see that those three aspects of a day in the life of Christ are also very appropriate for a day in the life of a Christian— including our life!

To God be the glory!

Amen

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell.  The third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.  From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

 

OFFERING

During this time of uncertainty we still want to bring our thank offerings to our dear Lord and Savior.  We ask that you continue to set your offerings aside so that when we are able to come together again in God’s House we will be able to place our offerings on His altar.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, as we read the Gospel accounts of your life and ministry here on this earth we are amazed— but not surprised— at your compassion, your power, and your focus.  Your compassion not only led you to come into this world as our true Brother to save us from our sins, but your compassion also leads you to be by our side each and every day to help us and to strengthen us as we journey through this world of sin.

Your power not only led you to defeat our most powerful and most dangerous spiritual enemies, but your power continues to guard us and protect us from the dangers that we continue to face— both physical dangers as well as spiritual dangers.  Since we depend on your power each and every day, we ask you to always be close by our side.

When we see the focus that you displayed in your life, when we see the focus that you displayed in your ministry, we gladly bring our thanks and praise to you.  You saw to it that your glorious Gospel message was shared with us by our parents, our fellow Christians, and our pastors.  You saw to it that through the power of your Holy Spirit we were brought to faith in you as our Savior and are kept in the faith through regular use of your holy Word and regular reception of your holy Supper.  Help us to have that same kind of focus in our lives so that we will never lose the eternal blessings that you have secured for us and so that we do everything we can to share you and to share your holy Word with others.

All of this we ask in the Name of Jesus our Lord, who taught us to pray:

C:        Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

M:       O Lord God, our heavenly Father, pour out the Holy Spirit on your faithful people.  Keep us strong in your grace and truth, protect and comfort us in all temptation, and bestow on us your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:        Amen.

M:       Brothers and sisters, go in peace.  Live in harmony with one another.  Serve the Lord with gladness.

The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.  The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.

C:        Amen.