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
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
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
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!