Mark 1: 29-39

JESUS THE MAN-HUNTER

Theme: God seeks the lost.

All of God’s creation is adversely affected by human sin. This is easily seen when an oil spill in the ocean traps various sea life and threatens its existence. A poorly maintained ship can leak engine oil into the water as it travels between ports. Some people are either thoughtless or ruthless as they throw over board waste oil or other harmful substances. These actions or in some instances lack of action continue to provide danger to the various life forms around them.

Penguins and other sea birds that are unwittingly caught in the oil slick on the water become covered in oil. The oil sticks to them, their feathers become mattered and useless for survival. If they don’t soon drown in the water they may get washed up on a nearby beach.

Whales have also been found beached, not because of oil, but for some other unknown reason. One suggestion of a cause has been the extensive use of various electronic communications systems from marine vessels. The resulting frequencies may cause disorientation for the whales and so they get caught up on the beach and left to die.

When the word gets out that troubled and distressed sea creatures are lying on the beach people come from everywhere. Some come to look while others are moved by compassion to try and save their lives. Penguins and other sea birds are collected and cleaned from any life threatening oil. Beached whales are kept wet and then pushed back into the water during high tide in the hope that they will recover and go their way. Thank God for all those people who struggle to preserve life and to give life back to all of God’s creatures. God bless them.

When a person is lost in the forest, a child kidnapped from their home, or a person missing anywhere, and then many people come together. They come together in the hope to restore order, to restore life as it was before, and to reduce the pain and suffering that has come. The police, emergency services, family and friends, and volunteers all come together. Search parties are formed and the manhunt begins. All the people involved in the search are given an area to search. The search is intensive; every inch is covered looking for any clue to the whereabouts of the missing person. Can you image the rejoicing when the lost person is found?

In the early hours of the morning, Jesus was missing from the home of Simon and Andrew. They loved Jesus and now he was missing. The day before, Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law from a fever. And throughout the day he healed many people in the city from various illnesses both in body and soul.

The word had got out that Jesus was missing. In no time at all the people of the city gathered at Simon’s door to help search for Jesus. With flaming torches in the dark, the manhunt began. Finally, they had found him alone in a far away place. Jesus did not return with them, because he was not lost. In a matter of fact, he was on a manhunt himself.

Overtime, Jesus of Nazareth had been given many titles. He had been given royal titles like: Son of God, Son of David, Son of man, the Messiah, and the Christ. There are other titles like: Teacher, and the Good Shepherd. Now, the writer of the gospel, Mark, is portraying Jesus in this text as a hunter. Perhaps we can call Jesus the Good Man hunter, because that is what he is doing.

God has seen us making a mess of our life, destroying his good creation. The sin that is in us leads us to mischief and destruction. Like the oil on the sea birds struggling for life, so God sees us struggling against sin.

As soon as the word got out that we were missing from a better life, a life with God, Jesus came. He left his heavenly home to come to search for us, to hunt for us. He will cover every inch and not miss a clue in order to find and return us to life. We can count on that, because that is what he does best.

At times we may behave as if we are delirious with fever like Simon’s mother-in-law. That is, unaware that we are sinners, unaware of the mischief we are causing to ourselves and to others, unaware that we are missing out on life, the life that God has set before us to live.

When Jesus finds us, each one of you, he will come into our presence and lift us up. That’s what he did with Simon’s mother-in-law. Unaware of Jesus’ presence, he lifted her up and the fever left her. When Jesus comes into our presence, he will change us. We may be unaware of his presence in our daily life, and unaware of the changes that are occurring in our life. In the end we will recognise Jesus as our Saviour, the one who hunted for us, found us and restored us to life, a life with God.

Once lost and now found. The story doesn’t end there. No doubt there will be much rejoicing in heaven and on earth over every lost soul that is found. After the party do we all go our separate ways? No! Simon’s mother-in-law responded by serving Jesus. We are also called as a found and saved people to respond with a similar attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving by serving Jesus too. It is an attitude that is willing to join in the search party, the manhunt with Jesus for lost souls and people in distress. It is an attitude of thanksgiving that has come from being found and saved by Jesus.

When the word goes out that someone is missing, will you follow Jesus in the manhunt? Or, do you remain where you are? If you do the later, is it because you are still lost?
Jesus, find us, heal us, so that we may follow you to save others.  Amen.

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