11 January 2012

Give thanks at all times...

And immediately Jesus left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, "Every one is searching for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
- St Mark 1:29-39

Jesus is in Capernaum, and by His words and His actions He is manifesting His power, the power of God. Many people heard Him and witnessed what He was doing – it was no secret – and so in the evening there were crowds of people gathering outside the house of Simon Peter, where Jesus was staying. They had brought their sick loved ones for Him to heal, and we’re told that they came “that evening, at sundown,” because it had been the Sabbath, and because of that they would not have been able to carry the sick (which would have been considered to be work) until the Sabbath was ended.

In the account of this day, there are three circumstances in which Jesus healed: first, in the synagogue; second, in the house of Simon Peter; and third, outside in the street. As a result of these occasions of the manifesting His healing power, people now were flocking to Jesus because they recognized that here was someone who could actually do things. They had heard His words, yes – but here was someone who not only spoke, but who also acted. And yet, in their coming to Him, we see the beginnings of trouble, of misunderstanding. The crowds were coming, for the most part, because they wanted something from Him. They weren’t coming simply because they loved him; they weren’t coming because they had been moved by His words and wanted to hear more. They were coming because they wanted something from Him.

Unfortunately, all too often we approach God like that. For every time we remember to thank God, there are hundreds of times we are asking Him for something. We should not come to God only in bad times, when things are in a mess, or when some tragedy happens. Certainly, God is concerned for us then -- but we need to have gratitude and love for God, too. God isn’t someone to be used only in difficult times, but He is to be loved at all times, and remembered every day of our lives.