Seeking a Savior

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

When I was new to the ordained ministry and serving a church in Nebraska, I got in the pulpit one Sunday with a patch on my chin. I apologized to the congregation, "I'm sorry about the bandage," I said, "but I cut my chin shaving while thinking about my sermon this morning." We had in that church, well, every church has some folks like this really, who are outspoken, and so a man's voice piped up from the rear of the church, "Next time, why not think about your chin and cut the sermon?"

Some folks are well-meaning in their comments about my sermon as they shake hands with me at the door, but they don't always come across the way they intended. One woman was embarrassed and said, as she was leaving, "I hope you didn't take it personally, Pastor, when my husband walked out during your sermon." "Well," I said, "it did concern me a bit, since I thought he was upset about something I said." "No, no," she said, "it's not a reflection on you at all. My husband's been walking in his sleep ever since he was a child."

I wanted to begin with those stories because a lot of people listen to the sermon but don't hear it. They're looking at their watch, or thinking about Sunday dinner after worship, or they listen and hear, but think it applies to someone else and not them.

Well, some part of this sermon this morning will apply to you. The title of the sermon is, "Seeking a Savior."

The people in our lesson today (and it is typical of many other times in Jesus' life that are recounted for us in the Gospels) were definitely seeking a Savior. They wouldn't let Jesus alone. They were constantly after him. People were coming and going and chasing after Jesus and the disciples and they had to hide, go to a deserted place in order to get some rest. Even if they got in a boat to get away from them, people figured out they were heading for the other side of the lake and rushed around the shore of the lake to get to the other side where Jesus would get out of the boat.

Great crowds greeted him. And he always had compassion for them because they seemed so lost, directionless. When folks recognized who he was they ran about the area towns and countryside and gathered together the sick and lame and brought them to Jesus. They even laid the sick in the marketplace where Jesus was to pass by, hoping that they could just touch him somehow, even to touch his clothing because they had heard that if you did that you could be healed-and it was true-for those who touched his cloak, even the fringe of it, were healed.

In being healed, they were saved from the consequences of their life up to that point. What ever befalls us is the consequence of something, someone. Sure, it might be something that we ourselves brought on, but it could be something someone else did, or so often it is just being a part of the human race-we are a fallen people. We wreak havoc upon ourselves as humanity. What people do on the other side of the world DOES affect us.

So many people are constantly looking for a savior-some one, some thing to save them from their particular situation. They can try to find it in something like the abuse of alcohol, or in some sort of drug, or over eating, or even in TV; or they can find it in immersing themselves in playing sports or watching sports. Anything can become addictive if it takes over your life, interferes with your life. If there is anything that constantly takes you away from seeking Jesus as the one person who can teach you how to cope, how to survive, how to progress, how to be a positive person and benefit others, how to live life to its fullest-if there's ANYTHING that over and over takes you away from seeking Jesus as the answer, then you are finding your 'savior' in whatever that is, and it is temporary and of no lasting value.

Jesus has individual answers for us. Whatever will lead you to a more fulfilling relationship with God, Jesus will show you the way. Some people come to that relationship by being more in tune with nature and the earth; others through the wonders of God's creatures, others through the wonder of the elements of the earth, like herbs or gemstones, or water, or fire, or the spirit; or they come to a fuller relationship through a healing or some miracle or a loving relationship with someone as a spouse or friend, or children or other relatives. Jesus has as many ways to show us as there are individual lives.

Each of us comes to Jesus through those gifts with which we were blessed-each our own talent or ability or understanding. Things happen in our lives-sometimes over and over-until we see the face of Jesus staring at us through the miracle or the blessing. So often we attribute that to 'consequence' or to medicine or science alone. Medicine and Science, ALL things, are created by God for positive use. We don't always use them that way, but nevertheless, things like medicine and science cannot stand alone. There is no conflict. Science doesn't DISPROVE God, only affirms the on going work of God in creation.

We don't even recognize that we are seeking a Savior. Everything we do, whether beneficial or detrimental for us, it all stems from our inherent need to fill a spiritual void. For some people that spiritual void is a deep pain that they can't name and they try to alleviate, try to numb it in some way.

There is so much in our society that constantly bombards us and creates blocks in our relationship with God, and that creates a void. That's the nature of being part of the human race, life keeps coming at us.

But those blocks don't have to be anything more than momentary if we are attuned to the fact that we are constantly, all day, every day, seeking a Savior-some one to fill the spiritual void, ease the pain that keeps popping up as we live our lives and the world just keeps throwing things at us to get in the way of that saving relationship.

Jesus can heal people on any level of existence-physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Wherever the greatest need-wherever the block occurs in our relationship with God that creates a void-Jesus shows us how to fill the void-the Holy Spirit is our constant companion, bringing to fruition in our lives all that the Savior, Jesus has started within us.

We are ALL seeking a Savior. We don't always recognize it, but it's inherent in our nature to seek a Savior that fulfills, completes that relationship with God so we feel loved, supported, comforted, encouraged, assured no matter what the world throws at us to try to block the fullness of our relationship with God. In all the 12 Step programs, it is a basic to the program to recognize that the addictions come about to make us feel better and ease that deep pain of separation from God, the spiritual void that constantly needs to be filled. In the "Beatitudes" in Matthew 5, we read "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." That means, those who recognize that they of themselves are poor in Spirit and need God to fill them, they are the ones who find inner strength because the Kingdom of Heaven is within, and they don't need some outer source to try to fill the spiritual void and ease the deep pain.

We are constantly seeking-reaching out to touch a reality. Jesus is the reality. He's got all the answers. He IS the answer. The people who lived in his day knew if they just touched the hem of his garment something incredible would happen to them.

So I invite you today to reach out to touch the hem of his garment-get to know Jesus through prayer, through worship, through praise, through Bible study. All those things will make him more real to you and you won't get caught up in seeking some false, temporary 'savior' that will make you feel good for a while, but ultimately will let you down. Whatever the question in your mind that makes you seek-Jesus is the answer!


Read more sermons by Pastor Brie