If you are an avid Baltimore Orioles fan right now, you are watching and waiting to see what happens with third baseman Manny Machado. He is without doubt one of the top five players in all of baseball, both offensively and defensively. So he is an immensely valuable resource for the franchise. But Manny is likely playing in his final year with Baltimore, as he will become a free agent after this season. It is unlikely that the Orioles will be able to pay him the salary he will get somewhere else, so, should they trade him now and get something back, or get one more year of service from him? It’s all about what the Orioles can get from him. He is liked by the fanbase because of what he does and what he brings to the team.
That is somewhat how Jesus was seen in Galilee and by the masses of Jewish people at this time and throughout his brief ministry years. They liked what he did – the healings, the feedings, the rhetoric. And in our passage today we see him performing healings (including the mother-in-law of Simon Peter) and casting out demons. This is a great guy to have around!
But Jesus retreats to a solitary place, obviously packing his bags to move on to preach the good news in other towns and cities. The people want to hang onto him; they don’t want him to leave them and take his valuable talents with him. Surely some were thinking, “Just about the time he leaves town and can’t be located, I’ll get sick and need to be healed!”
Borrowing from later in the life story, the disciples have the same categories of fears and worries when they hear Jesus speaking about how he will be leaving them. And to comfort them – not that they understood it at the time – he tells them that a greater personal resource is coming in his place. The Holy Spirit would not only be WITH them, but would be IN them.
So our position as post-Pentecost, church age believers today is actually better than what the disciples had by merely being WITH Jesus, as cool as that would be! Think about that!
But think about this also: We can be like the people of Capernaum, even with the Spirit living in us. Too often we look at our relationship with Jesus as only about what he can do for us. It is a “what have you done for me lately” attitude that we can develop. But as with the Capernaumites (I just made up that word), the picture is bigger. It is not just about what is God doing for me today in meeting my comfort needs. It might be to consider what God is doing in me as I endure through suffering. It might be that I need to consider about others beyond myself and my context who have greater needs. And it is surely about building THE KINGDOM and not just about my fiefdom. Be big. Think big.
(Something that won’t be as big or long will be the next set of devotionals over the busy Christmas season. We’ll get in, hit the big idea, and get out!)
Luke 4:38 – Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.