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Antioch, California, United States
John is the under-shepherd of Agape International Church & Ministries Inc, Antioch, California and the President of Agape International Ministries Foundation, Inc (www.agapebfm.net) John has been a Preacher, Bible Teacher, Counselor and a mission-minded servant of God from 1984 till the present time. Married to Alice since 1987, he enjoys being a father to 2 sons and 1 daughter. He is available to preach, participate in evangelistic crusades and revivals, lead or participate in a Marriage Enrichment program internationally. John preaches on a weekly radio broadcast called "KNOW THE TRUTH" (Based on John 8:32)and the broadcast is aired every Sunday at Radio KDIA 1640AM. The broadcast is also accessible through the website of the radio station: www.kdia.com. You can follow him on twitter @agapebfm

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

God Can Extinguish That Fire!

Bible Study on The Gospel of Mark: An Unending Story

God Can Extinguish That Fire!

Scriptures: (Mark 1:29-31 NIV) As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. {30} Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. {31} So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

God is able to reverse the irreversible in your life. He has done it before and he will do it again. Our God is an impossible specialist. The Bible Says:

(Gen 18:14 NIV)  Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

(Jer 32:27 NIV)  "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

(Luke 1:37 NIV)  For nothing is impossible with God."

One of the best-selling books of Kathryn Kuhlman is a book titled: “Nothing is Impossible with God.” Someone writes the following about Kathryn Kuhlman with reference to that book. Kathryn Kuhlman presents the God she knew--the God who is a specialist in doing the impossible and who is able to do anything but fail.”

In the previous scene in this Bible story, we saw our Lord Jesus Christ teaching in the Synagogue. The scene ended as the people were amazed about the authoritative teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the way that he exercised authority over the evil spirits. After this, Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrews, in the company of James and John. During that visit, Jesus was informed about the illness of Simon’s mother-in-law. She was sick with a fever. This confirms that Simon Peter was married as of the time that he was called to discipleship.

From this encounter of Jesus, we could learn some principles.

1.    The Illness:
(Mark 1:29-30 NIV)  As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. {30} Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her.

It needs to be noted that our modern day medical understanding of fever is not the same with how it was in the days of Jesus. At that time, a fever was considered more serious due to the supernatural implications of it. In those days, fever was considered as an illness with a theological significance. People believed that fever was a punishment or chastisement sent by God unto those who disregarded divine covenant. It was also assumed that feverish illness is caused by a demonic force. Note the following scriptures:

(Lev 26:16 NIV) then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.

(Deu 28:22 NIV)  The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.

The theological interpretation given to this medical condition also suggests that this illness can be cured by God alone. Why? Because they believed that the fire of fever was set by God and only God can extinguish it. The mother in law of Simon must have suffered from a deadly ailment. But no matter how serious her condition is, Jesus is able to change the unchangeable.

2. The Intervention:
(Mark 1:29-31 NIV)  As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. {30} Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. {31} So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

In this story, Jesus went to Peter’s mother-in-law and having raised her up by hand, the fever left her. What a miracle. If one translates this portion of the story from its original Greek, it would read like this: the fever abandoned her or divorced her or departed from her.

The word translated “left” in verse 31 is the Greek word aphiemi. The word has several meanings. They include:

1) to send away
a) to bid going away or depart
1) of a husband divorcing his wife
b) to send forth, yield up, to expire
c) to let go, let alone, let be
1) to disregard
2) to leave, not to discuss now, (a topic)
a) of teachers, writers and speakers
3) to omit, neglect
d) to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit
e) to give up, keep no longer
2) to permit, allow, not to hinder, to give up a thing to a person
3) to leave, go way from one
a) in order to go to another place
b) to depart from any one
c) to depart from one and leave him to himself so that all mutual claims are abandoned
d) to desert wrongfully
e) to go away leaving something behind
f) to leave one by not taking him as a companion
g) to leave on dying, leave behind one
h) to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining
i) Abandon, leave destitute

As Jesus entered into the situation of this woman, her problem changed for the best. Jesus reversed the irreversible problem in the life of this woman. God will do the same for you in Jesus name. Your problems shall depart from you. Your travails shall divorce you. Your distress and depression shall forsake you in Jesus name. Once the problems depart, they will never find a favorable space in your life any more in Jesus name.

There is something so remarkable about how Jesus healed this woman: It is the ability of Jesus to extinguish a heavenly fire which only God or anyone certified as an agent of God can do. This added to the credibility and the authenticity of the divinity of Jesus. As we are going to see in the subsequent scenes in this story, Jesus is going to become too popular as time goes on.  

3. The Instantaneous Ministry:
(Mark 1: 31 NIV) So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

Immediately after Simon’s mother-in-law was healed, she began to serve. This is an important lesson for all God’s children. Your salvation and your healing should motivate you to serve the Lord. The passage states that she began to wait on them. The word translated “wait on” is the Greek word “diakoneo from which we get the word deacon. The word gives the picture of a waiter in a restaurant. That is why deacons are called “table-waiters.” Their primary role is to provide service to the church and the pastor. They are ordained to be co-laborers and collaborator to the pastor and not a competitor. This word “diakoneo” has several meanings. They include:

1)) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
a) To minister to one, render ministering offices to
1) To be served, ministered unto
b) To wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests,
1) Of women preparing food
c) To minister i.e. supply food and necessities of life
1) To relieve one's necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life
2) To take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon
3) In Christian churches to serve as deacons
d) To minister
1) To attend to anything, that may serve another's interests
2) To minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying any thing

In a nutshell, the mother in law of Simon attended to them just like the angels attended to Jesus in the desert. (Cf. Mark 1:13.)

There is no service that is very small in the kingdom of God. No matter how meager the service she provided may have been, it was something that is heavenly rewarding as she served the Lord willingly and voluntarily. Simon’s mother in law served Jesus and his followers immediately after she was healed. A good disciple must be involved in the ministry of his or her church. Ministry is to discipleship, what the heart is to the human body. Why? Because providing service to a church is a key characteristic of discipleship. It is no wonder that Jesus Christ got this message across to his disciples everytime. Hear what He says here:

(Mark 9:35 NIV)  Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

(Mark 10:41-45 NIV)  When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. {42} Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. {43} Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, {44} and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. {45} For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

It is worthy of note that most of the women who followed Jesus have a better understanding of the immediacy of service upon following Jesus than their male counterparts.

The miraculous healing of Simon’s mother in-law shows that there is nothing that is impossible for God. Those who are healed should know that they were healed to serve. There is no other way. This is the best way.