Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied unto you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ Amen. The text for this morning’s message comes to us from our Gospel lesson in Luke chapter 4. I’d like to highlight the following, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” So far the text.
So last week we left Jesus preaching in Nazareth where he grew up and the people got angry, rejected him and he left. Now we pick up in Capernaum, which functioned as Jesus base of operations or his new home. Jesus starts right up with some great miracles. He casts out a demon, he heals the sick. Jesus is the town hero. This is the exact opposite of last week’s text. Last week they wanted to throw him off a cliff, this week they don’t want him to ever leave.
So let’s once and for all be honest about this snow business. Snow is annoying. Snow is unpredictable. Snow makes us anxious. Snow gets dirty. Snow is expensive and exhaustive to clean up. But! There is that one magical rare fleeting opportunity… I love that one perfect moment just standing outside after a big snow. Something like 9+ inches over a couple of hours. Something that even the most skilled wheel men in the captain seat of the plows cannot hope to keep up with. Right there the whole world sparkles. The whole world is quiet. The whole world is still. You can’t even notice the cold. The world stands still. The peace of the moment is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
A moment like this is rare. A moment like this is different for all of us. Maybe for you it’s the newspaper and cup of coffee on a perfect morning. Maybe for you it's a hotdog in hand at a big league game on a perfect day. Whatever it is, it’s rare.
When you have something like this, a picture perfect moment where the whole world stops and everything feels right. That kind of moment is destroyed if it changes just a little bit. So if my moment of snow is next to a busy street- wrecked. Maybe only a couple of inches- no chance. More people with you? You never notice. If for you it's the morning coffee and paper. If it's the wrong newspaper- awful. If the coffee is bad? Or if its made with three creams and you like 2- gross.
Change it just a bit and it’s no longer good.
Today Jesus is in Capernaum. Capernaum is a great place. It has fishing and agriculture, a military barracks and government outpost. The economy is doing well. Despite this, when Jesus is in Capernaum, he finds the brokeness. Jesus heals and restores. When Jesus is in Capernaum, the perfect moment for a lot of people is filed up back to back to back. Jesus is healing a lot of people. Imagine being possessed with a demon or living with a very difficult illness with no modern medicine available at all and then poof- Jesus comes onto the scene and you are healed.
This is a most perfect amazing moment over and over and then all of the sudden the moment is threatened! After Jesus casts out a demon, the demon knows exactly who Jesus really is. Jesus silences the demon. The always confused me. Why wouldn’t Jesus want the news about him to spread by any means? The demon would have absolutely changed or distorted who he was. Or spread the word too quickly bringing about a death by stoning before he got to preach and teach. The greatest moment in the history of the world- the resurrection of Jesus could have been derailed if this demon let the news slip too soon. This healing would have turned into a tragedy.
Then Jesus goes out into the people and he does much more of the same. Jesus casts out demons and silences them. Jesus heals all kinds of sicknesses. Jesus is bringing a level of healing and hope into the lives of the people that they have never known.
Jesus describes what he was doing as preaching the kingdom of God. In his actions he has brought the kingdom of God to earth. The people were experiencing heaven on earth and they wanted more. They did not want him leave- ever. As soon as they get a taste of something so great they absolutely cannot get enough.
But he does leave them to preach the kingdom of God to the other towns, as well. He is talking about us. Right here. Today. He was sent to earth to preach to this town, as well. Today.
We are these other towns and these other people. Jesus preaches heaven on earth to you today. We come together drawn to the presence of Lord in his house. We lift all that causes us pain up to him in prayer knowing that all things are in his hands. We lift our sinfulness to him- all those times that moments of perfection have been ruined at our hand. Then we receive the peace that surpasses even a fresh fallen snow or a day at the ballpark. The peace that knows that heaven on earth is yours. The peace that reminds us that Jesus is yours and he gives you freely every good thing and every perfect moment. When we gather here as his people we are forgiven we are nourished we find peace and heaven on earth is your's. The kingdom of God is your’s. Jesus is yours.