Epiphany 3b, (January 25, 2015)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. Mark chapter one.
This weeks readings are all about time. God is the author and creator of time, when He set the day and the night at creation. And with great patience and care, the days were fulfilled for Jesus to come forth and save the world from itself. He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”” (Mark 1:15 ESV)
Throughout the Bible, we see that time is passing, that things change, and that the time of repentance is always now, never tomorrow. Remember when Jonah entered the city and cried out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”” (Jonah 3:4 ESV) Or do you remember when Saint Paul said, “This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short.” (1 Corinthians 7:29 ESV) Or again Paul says, “…the present form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31 ESV)
So when Jesus enters into the world, He comes into our world knowing full well that the time of repentance and mercy is now. Always now.
It is hard in the hustle and bustle of life to set priorities, to remember what truly matters in life. It is hard to step back and to recognize that the most important things may not be what is right in front of you. God knows that you forget who you are. He knows that you do not listen as you ought, that you are distracted and full of care. And so He enters into your life and calls you.
The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, our Lord cries to you. Do not let the moments of your life turn you away from the one thing needful. Repent and believe the Gospel.
In this text, when Jesus is calling the disciples, we get that little word, “follow me”. It may remind you of a game from your childhood, like follow the leader. That’s actually not to bad of an analogy. But the word used here in Mark is even stronger than that. It could be translated something like “Come after me right now!” Our Lord knows the urgency of the time, and He knows that the time is now.
And yet at the same time, our Lord is patient, oh so very patient with us. His call goes out again and again. We have our forty days before Nineveh is destroyed. And while forty days sounds like a long time, the end of the time will sneak up on us so that we do not even know it is coming.
And what will happen at the end of our forty days, when time is fulfilled at last. St. Paul reminds us again that “…the present form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31 ESV) There will come a time, not too far away, when time itself will end, and the now of eternity will be upon us. Things will change, and make no mistake, beloved, they will change for the better. They will change because you will be remade in His image, resurrected, whole and complete in a way that you have never experienced before. We follow the leader to the cross and death because resurrection and new life is on the other side.
Some of ous have gone there already. No, I don’t mean some weird “heaven is for real” sort of out of body experience. I mean that some in our midst have already passed from this life and await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. It is almost as if we can hear echoes of their voices in our liturgy, remembering where they sat, their voices added to the voices of the angels. And one day we will join this.
Follow me, our Lord said. Follow me to death and life. Repent and believe the Gospel.
Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.