Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

 Sermon Text: Mark 1:29-39

 Other Readings: Isaiah 40:27-31 and 1 Peter 5:6-11


 

  1. Why did the people wait until the evening “after sunset” to bring the afflicted to Jesus?
     
  2. Why did Jesus prevent the demons from speaking about who he was? Evaluate the options below. Is one better than the other?
    1. He didn’t want his identity as the Holy One of God being conflated with these forces of Satan.
    2. Jesus wanted to keep a low(er) profile for the time being until later in his ministry.
       
  3. Peter is mentioned in our Gospel Reading (Though he is called Simon.) Peter wrote our Second Reading from 1 Peter 5:6-11. What things from our Gospel Reading might Peter had in mind when he wrote about God’s mighty hand lifting people up (1 Peter 5:6) and when he wrote about the devil prowling around like a lion (1 Peter 5:7)?
     
  4. In our Second Reading, Peter described our God as “the God of all grace” (2 Peter 5:10). Where do you see God’s grace in our Gospel Reading?
     
  5. Our Gospel Reading ends by saying that Jesus went around “preaching” (Mark 1:39). Summarize the content of Jesus’ preaching in just a sentence or two. (Don’t be afraid to use our First Reading for help.)

 

  1. It was the Sabbath Day (Saturday). They had rules about how far they could walk on sabbaths and how much work they could do. So, they waited till the Sabbath Day was over, which, for the Jews, meant sunset. Additionally, some point out that symptoms of illnesses get worse in the evening; so, maybe the severity showed itself more clearly, prompting them to get help.
     
  2. They are both pretty good explanations, and it’s probably hard to put one over the other. At the end of the day, this much is clear: Jesus determines how his word is to be proclaimed, especially when you consider how our text ends. (More on that below.) We do well to proclaim God’s word according to his standards, not our own.
     
  3. When Peter talks about God’s mighty hand lifting people up, you wonder if he had in mind his mother-in-law being helped up from her fever. When Peter talks about the devil as a lion devouring people, you wonder if he thought of the way all those demons were torturing the people whom they possessed.
     
  4. We see God’s grace in the fact that Jesus healed all these people. God’s grace can overcome the effects of sin. God’s grace also is given, even when it hasn’t been earned. We read nothing about these people’s motivations. But Jesus did not wait till they were perfect; he healed them anyway. That is God’s grace in action.
     
  5. To borrow from Isaiah, we can say that Jesus was preaching, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength,” especially their spiritual strength. We also know from earlier in Mark chapter 1 that Jesus preached that the kingdom of God had come near. Jesus would have been expanding on the idea that God’s gracious rule was coming into contact with the people’s lives and hearts.