Mark 1:29-31 And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.
I'd like to talk today about miracles, its important because so many people are missing the point, for in our age the question is do they happen, and deciding that one way or the other becomes the point - and the bigger question is missed - and that is why do they happen. So we could talk about Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, or Moses crossing the Red Sea, and never talk about why these things happen, or more importantly, what they mean.
What is a miracle? It is nothing less that the power of God at work in the world for us. A miracle tells us something about God, and his relationship to us. The power of God is an awesome thing, for who else can say, let there be ___, and it comes into existence - and God who has created all things, didn't stop there, but day after day he is at work preserving creation, giving each of us our daily bread, all that we need to support this body and life. And just from the power of God in creation, all creation owes him worship, praise and adoration. But God is not just power, there is something more, something we see in the grace that is preservation, that God continues to give daily bread to the wicked as well as to the righteous - the grace is that God gives us what we need, whether we deserve it or not - and there we see something about God's relationship with us - we see a God who loves us even while we are rebellious, even while we are his enemies, a God who loves us even though we are poor miserable sinners, without any merit or worthiness in us.
So what about miracles? Miracles are not the gospel, they serve the gospel - that is miracles are not the good news by themselves, rather they point to the good news. Miracles point to a God at work in the world around us, working for our good, even though we don't deserve it.
In our lesson today we see the power of God at work in Jesus. Peter's mother-in-law had a fever and was sick in bed - Jesus knew because Peter told him, Jesus took her by the hand, the fever left, and she got up and served them. Fever's just don't go away like that, and even if they did, you would still be weak and tired - the miracle of the healing is that it was instantaneous, and complete, not only was the fever gone, but her energy was restored, and she got up and served them.
Why is that important? Because even though Jesus was true God, he was also true man, and as a man he could be hungry and tired and need rest. Its important because we see Jesus man and God, with power to help us. The woman didn't do anything to earn a healing, but having been healed, in thanks she serves.
So we too, have done nothing to earn or deserve forgiveness, and yet the good news comes to us telling us that we can turn from sin and turn to God, that God will forgive and restore us, make us a new creation and give us peace and eternal life - that's a miracle - it didn't come without cost, for we know that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, Jesus shed his holy precious blood for us, Jesus gave up his life for us - that's how salvation comes to us - that's the good news, we are redeemed, we have been forgiven - and this too is a miracle, for not only have we been given life, but we have been restored so that we could serve God now. Its not that someday we may be strong enough to do something - but in the new creation, we are strong enough to do something now.
We are redeemed, and because we are redeemed we have good news to tell about God at work in our lives, we each have our own story of what God has done for us in Christ, and as we tell the good news, people are brought to a new understanding of our God and savior, they see a hope and a power at work for them, a promise for them - and it is in this way that salvation is brought to each person in a personal way. This is how miracles serve the Gospel.
You have been redeemed, you have been forgiven, and you have the power to bring this good news to the world, news that Jesus is not just your savior, that Jesus is their savior too. This is how miracles serve the Gospel, it points us to our almighty God and Savior who has had mercy on us, forgiven our sins and given us life and peace. You may hear, repent for the kingdom of God is at hand - but you know that in Christ we have the power to turn from sin and turn to God and to be healed, forgiven, and live in peace. That's a miracle!