Worship Helps for Epiphany 5

Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law
John Bridges

Worship Theme: Though the call to faith is general and always miraculous in its capacity to create a willing following, it is also always individual. It comes to each in his own special or unique set of circumstances. Jesus both arranges and takes those circumstances into account when he calls us to follow him. He so rules over history that he allows and then overcomes the obstacles in each of us to heeding his call. Again he shows himself glorious, but hides the glory in apparent weakness.

Old Testament: Job 7:1-7
"Does not man have hard service on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired man? 2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages, 3 so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. 4 When I lie down I think, 'How long before I get up?' The night drags on, and I toss till dawn. 5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. 6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. 7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.

1. How was Job feeling about his life?

2. Why did Job feel the way he did?

3. Job had not lost his faith in God. How can you tell?

Epistle: Romans 8:28-30
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

4. Earlier Paul has said that we know that the whole world is groaning as in pains of childbirth. What else do we know?

5. God's purpose is not necessarily to make us happy now. What is his eternal purpose?

6. What unbroken chain does Paul want us to picture?

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. 32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 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. 35 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" 38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else-- to the nearby villages-- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

7. How did Jesus feel after a long day of ministry?

8. How did Jesus respond to the demands of the people?

1. Job was frustrated with his lot in life. Tired and depressed, Job figured that he would never be happy again. Job had lost his desire to proclaim good news about his Savior God.

2. Job had lost his fortune, his children and his reputation. Then he lost his health, too. His friends figured that he had done something terrible to deserve such treatment from God. Job resented them and their accusations. God seemed distant and unfair. Job's suffering led him to discouragement and despair.

3. Though frustrated, tired, and depressed due to all the calamity touching his life, Job still addressed God in prayer (verse 7).

4. We also know that all things work together for good to those who love God, whom God has called to faith.

5. God's purpose now and forever is to conform us to the likeness of his Son. This is why he chose us to be believers before he made the world. (What grace.)

6. The unbroken chain of God's grace is that those God predestined in eternity to be his children, he also called to faith in Jesus here in time. Those he called he also declared innocent in his courtroom, for Jesus' sake, and those he justified, he also glorified. We are not on the new earth yet, shining like the sun, but because of God's grace it is as good as done. (What amazing grace.)

7. Jesus was worn out and looking for solitude. People were demanding an audience with him. Sadly, it seems that they were more interested in earthly blessings (miracles of physical healing) rather than the heavenly blessings that Jesus had to offer: the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

8. Jesus left and went to other villages, realizing that his primary mission from the Father was to preach the gospel and bring eternal healing to souls. He had a tireless compulsion to preach the gospel.

 Putting your faith into action
Life this side of the veil can be oh, so difficult. And why shouldn’t it be? It isn’t God’s fault that sin entered this world. What we often experience are simply the consequences. In fact, the only relief from the misery, hurt, and seeming futility of living life in a sinful world is God’s answer to that sin. Unmerited forgiveness through Jesus is what gives us relief. Promised protection for God’s family is what gives us hope. Unending life in heaven is what grants us peace. Our natural response? Thankful living and giving despite our troubles. That’s the “thank you card” each believer has the opportunity to write every single day.

A reading from the Book of Concord for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Christ gave the apostles only spiritual power (i.e., the command to teach the Gospel, to announce the forgiveness of sins, to administer the Sacraments, to excommunicate the godless without bodily force ‹by the Word›).  He did not give them the power of the sword.  For Christ says, “Go … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).  Also, “As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21).

It is clear that Christ was not sent to bear the sword or possess a worldly kingdom, as He Himself says, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

[A Contrast between Christ and the Pope]
Christ in His passion is crowned with thorns and led forth to be ridiculed in royal purple.  This symbolizes that in the future, after His spiritual kingdom was despised (i.e., the Gospel was suppressed), another kingdom of a worldly kind would be set up with the appearance of churchly power.  (So the Constitution of Boniface VIII and similar opinions are false and godless, for they argue that the pope is by divine right the ruler of the kingdoms of the world.)  From this notion, horrible darkness has been brought into the Church.  The ministry of the Gospel was neglected and knowledge of faith and the spiritual kingdom became extinct. Christian righteousness was assumed to be the outward government the pope had established.       – Power and Primacy of the Pope (paragraphs 31-34)

Text of the Hymn of the Day: 760  When Peace Like a River
1  When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll—
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,  
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well (It is well) with my soul (with my soul).  
It is well, it is well with my soul.

2  My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—      
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

3  And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.


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