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Proclaiming the Message, Feb 4, 2024

Mark 1:29-39, Epiphany 5B

Theme: Preaching

The lectionary text for today begins as Jesus and his entourage move from the synagogue to Simon and Andrew’s home. According to the Mark gospel, it is still the sabbath. There, they find Simon’s mother-in-law sick with a fever. The day ends with Jesus healing several people and driving out many evil spirits. For all of them, it must have been a grueling day.

The next morning, Jesus arises and finds a quiet secluded place for prayer. I am sure he had to spend some time gathering his thoughts. Perhaps he reviewed the last few months and the events leading up to that morning.

After his baptism, he had spent a bit over a month in the desert struggling with the devil as he attempted to figure out the nature of his identity. Did he know when he left the haunted desert, he was beginning the last three years of his life? He returns to the northern part of Israel, and by the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, he finds several of the men who would follow him through to his death and resurrection. They join him at the synagogue that sabbath.

Absorbed in his thoughts, Simon and the rest of his followers find him. One can feel the excitement coming from their words as they say, “Everyone is searching for you.” Jesus simply answers, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”

I am sure the next hours, and perhaps days, were filled with feverish preparations. Remember, there were no grocery stores, Holiday Inns, or fast-food restaurants where they were going. The Galilean countryside was mostly populated by small farms and shepherds with small villages interspersed. There might be a few markets in the villages depending on the season, but the company moving from one place to another would have to bring their provisions with them.

Preaching is a process. It begins with preparation. Just as the company who went with Jesus through those rural villages had to prepare, one who preaches must gather the elements of their message.

The message, if it is to be effective, must have contained in it:

1. Excitement.

2. Knowledge of what the needs of the people to which the message is to be directed.

3. Gathered research with the results containing actual resources people need.

4. One must be willing to travel to the people.

5. Knowledge that God is with them whatever happens.

Come worship with us at First Christian Church where we will consider our preparations for preaching the good news of the Christ.

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