The Power of the Word

Dear hearers of God’s powerful Word: Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Word of Jesus has power. He teaches and He astonishes because His Word has authority. He rebukes and demons are silenced and cast out. He rebukes and fevers leave.

Of course the people of Capernaum wanted Jesus around. They wanted their sick to be healed. He was performing miracles among them and they wanted to keep Him from leaving. But Jesus said that it is necessary that He leave. He was sent by God the Father to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. He was not sent by the Father to perform miracles, to heal, or to cast out demons.

This is the same thing Jesus taught last week when He was asked to heal people in His own hometown but did not do it. Instead, Jesus responded by saying that there were lots of widows in Israel starving to death in the time of Elijah, but God sent Elijah to a widow that was not an Israelite, and God provided only for her. So also there were lots of lepers in the time of Elisha, but God sent Elisha to heal Naaman the Syrian while the lepers among God’s people suffered and died. The purpose of God is not to heal everyone from their illnesses or to take away all suffering in this life. The purpose of God is to take us from this life to the next life; to eternal life.

Our problem is that we want to cling to this life. We want health. We want healing. And really, let’s be honest we want a whole lot more than that. We want wealth, too. We want luxury. We want leisure and comfort. We want what the world offers. We want to stay in this world for as long as we can. We spend so much of our time and energy trying to improve our lot in this life.

Why? This world will pass away along with its desires (1 John 2:17). It is stored up for fire (2 Peter 3:7). We have a new heavens and a new earth promised to us (2 Peter 3:13). Why would we be so attached to this old earth that is filled with sin, suffering, disease, death, and godlessness? We have a new heavens and a new earth promised to us where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). That means no more sin. That means no more suffering. No more disease. No more death. No more godlessness.

We need to stop treating God like He’s Santa Claus, where we give Him our wish list and He gives us what we request, because we do not know what to ask for as we ought (Rom. 8:26). We ask and do not receive, because we ask wrongly, to spend it on our passions (Jas. 4:3). Why are we striving so hard for things that are stored up for fire? If we cannot release our grasp on the things of this world, there is great danger that we will still be clinging to them when the fire comes.

No, it is not a sin to ask for what we need. It is not a sin to pray for healing. But know that God will give you something better than that for which you pray. He may not give you that for which you ask because He wants to tear you away from your attachments to this life, for your eternal good. He may not give you the healing for which you pray because He wants to take you to your eternal home now.

The reason for Jesus’ miracles, healing, and casting out demons was to prove who He is. They were to prove to you the power of His Word. Since Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law of a high fever through His Word, you know His Word has power. You know that when He promises you that all your illnesses and diseases will be healed in the world to come, He actually has the power to do it. Since Jesus proved His power over demons and they had to obey Him, you know that Jesus has power over all the demons that torment you and that they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity, while you will be brought to the new heavens and the new earth where there are no demons. Since Jesus showed His power to raise the dead through His powerful Word, you know that His powerful Word will raise you from the dead when He returns.

Jesus didn’t come for the main purpose of healing and performing miracles. He came to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. He came to teach the saving Gospel that brings us into the Kingdom of God.

He came into this world, taking on our flesh, to suffer for our sins, so Jesus knows and understands our suffering. He knows and understands our weaknesses and temptations – He also was tempted although He never fell into temptation or sinned.

Jesus knows suffering. His entire earthly life was a life of service to us. He served even though He was rejected; even though He was hated and despised. He served to the point of suffering torture and death at the hands of mankind, whom He came to save.

Because Jesus knows our weaknesses and temptations and suffering, He gave us His powerful Word. He gave us His powerful Word that points not to healing or miracles or wealth in this life, but to healing and miracles and wealth in the life to come; in eternal life. God’s Word leads us to not cling to this world but to cling to eternal life, which He gives to us.

Eternal life is possible for us because of God’s powerful Word. When you were baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, according to His powerful Word, you were made heirs of eternal life (Titus 3:5-8, Rom. 6:5). When His powerful Word of Absolution is spoken to you, it is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ our dear Lord dealt with you Himself (SC V). When His powerful Word is spoken over the bread and the wine, you know that you receive exactly what Jesus Himself has promised – His true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins.

The Word of Jesus has power. He teaches and He astonishes because His Word has authority. He rebukes and demons are silenced and cast out. He rebukes and fevers leave.

But the reason for Jesus’ miracles, healing, and casting out demons was to prove who He is. They were to prove to you the power of His Word. Since Jesus healed through His Word, you know His Word has power. You know that when He promises you that all your illnesses and diseases will be healed in the world to come, He actually has the power to do it. Since Jesus proved His power over demons and they had to obey Him, you know that Jesus has power over the devil and all the demons that torment you and that they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity, while you will be brought to the new heavens and the new earth. Since Jesus showed His power to raise the dead through His powerful Word, you know that His powerful Word will raise you from the dead when He returns. You know all this because He gives you His powerful Word that tells this to you. You know all this because He gives you His powerful Word which gives you faith to trust that all that He says is true. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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