Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Looking for Jesus Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending October 4, 2009

Purpose: To discover that when we find Jesus, he incorporates us into the community of faith.

Scripture Text: Mark 1:35-45 (NRSV)

Mark 1:35-45
(35)In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. (36)And Simon and his companions hunted for him. (37)When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ (38)He answered, ‘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.’ (39)And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons

(40) A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ (41)Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ (42)Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.(43)After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, (44)saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ (45)But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

This passage of scripture takes place very early in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptizer, and had been tempted in the wilderness, called His disciples from the shores of Galilee, and spoken at the Synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath. After Jesus had called out an unclean spirit during His teaching at the synagogue, he and the other disciples went to Simon and Andrew's home, where Simon's mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Hearing of her illness Jesus took her hand and healed her and she was able to assume her duties as a host. There is one other important bit of information you need to know, and that is from verse 14 of this chapter, “Now after John was put in prison.”

It is important that you understand the political climate in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. They are under Roman rule and they sat on the very fringe of the Persian Empire, which would be Rome's greatest enemy at that time. You could very well compare that part of the world with the Eastern block of nations between the U.S.S.R. And West Germany during the Cold War. The Russians were very interested in everything that went on in that part of the world. Likewise, John the Baptist had been arrested because they thought he and his followers were a threat to Roman rule, and John was singing from a different book and spoke with a boldness that brought concern to those that ruled for Rome.

Before our text, we find in the previous verses, 32-34 that after the sun had gone down, because it was the Sabbath that the whole town was at the door of Simon and Andrew's home looking for healing from health problems to demon possession. No wonder the Lord got up early in the morning and headed to the wilderness for some solace and prayer time with the Father.

Jesus was certainly aware, with the arrest of John the Baptist that anyone creating this kind of buzz was going to be a target for the Roman rulers in this area. Simon and the others were not concerned about that, but seemed more interested in being a part of this new found popularity; they were certainly looked upon in a different way, being part of the entourage of Christ. Knowing all of this, helps us understand what happens in our text.

Maybe the disciples had made promises back in Capernaum, and wanted Jesus to go back and do their bidding. Whatever the reason they were upset when they did not know where Jesus could be found. I love the statement “Everyone is searching for you”; if only we could say that today with conviction. Indeed today there are many that are searching for something that will take away the illnesses, and other health problems. There are also those that are looking for something to fill a void in there own lives and heart. People today are still looking for something to believe in, something or someone that can provide comfort and peace of mind.

As much as Jesus may have wanted to go back and help those that were searching for him in Capernaum, He knew that was not His overall mission, but He remained focused, as I am sure the Father had encouraged Him to do, in their prayer time together. Which is why we need to seek God, the Father, out in our prayer time and make sure we are focused on His mission not ours or that of well meaning friends and neighbors and maybe even family. Jesus said let's move on to other towns. The Good News of Jesus needs to go out to the highways and byways; it is not for just the home town folks.

As Jesus travels about all of Galilee He encounters a man with leprosy, and interesting conversation takes place. The leper says, “If you choose you can make me clean.” Jesus says, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Do you think Jesus could have said: “not now I am too busy”? Or" you do not have enough faith”, or “you do not have the right doctrine”? I think it is important to notice that Jesus asked him to go and get checked out by the priest, the leper needed the priest to inspect him and proclaim him clean, so he could rejoin society. He could go from an outcast to a working member of the community. I think Jesus was struck by the severity of the law as much as the disease, being a leper was a lonesome existence. Although Jesus had told the leper to say nothing, except to the priest, the exuberance of the leper being healed made it impossible for Jesus to continue to minister in that area. Fear of the Romans and knowing His mission was not completed pushed Jesus’ ministry to the wilderness, He could no longer minister in the cities.

In our world today we deal with those that have HIV/AIDS in much that same way as they dealt with Lepers in Jesus day.I remember when Magic Johnson of the LA Lakers announced he had the HIV/AID virus. The rules for basketball changed because of the fear and stigma of the disease. Jesus ministry to the Leper was an example for all of us to follow, He was willing to touch and to heal, we may not be able to heal, but we can certainly help them be a part of society.

How should the Church respond to those that have the HIV/AID virus? What precautions has your church taken to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu? When you found Jesus did you want everybody to find Jesus? Do you think Jesus is worth searching for? Why?

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