Today Pastor Troy taught from Mark 1:14-45.
Verse 15 has a potent and pithy sermon from Jesus.
"The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom is near. Repent and believe the Good News!"
The in-breaking of God's love in Jesus Christ poured out on the Cross was within the lifetime of the God-man. The only appropriate response was to repent and believe the Gospel.
It is interesting that the "Good News" or "Gospel" is not defined for us in this opening chapter, but assumed. So it then begs the question. "What is the Good News in which I am to believe?"
Jesus Christ was God in flesh reconciling the world to Himself through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. This is the only means of redemption and reconciliation with a Holy Lord against whom we are born enemies.
Jesus approached Simon and Andrew and told them to fish on the other side of their boat. The geographical difference was merely a matter of feet, but the spiritual distance between fishing on the side of the boat that was deemed best to you and the side of the boat commanded to you by Jesus is beyond measure.
Simon Peter was a fisherman and made his living catching fish. Jesus blessed the work of his hands and provided him with fish overflowing. Most would see this as a confirmation of Jesus' hand in your life and would gladly invite Him back time and time again to bless the profession of choice. Most of us would make this an anchor that tied us the more to our current situation. Jesus, however, uses this demonstration of His power to call Simon Peter out of his present life and into the discipleship to Himself.
Our story was already in progress before Jesus showed up. We were doing what we loved, what we liked, what we had chosen, and He blessed it. Is not that confirmation that we should keep doing it? No. Not in this case. I wonder how often we see Jesus show up in power only long enough to see how wonderful it is for our current circumstance and how often we overlook that our present blessing is a gift from God to assist us in being freed from our current preferences and ushered into His purposes.
Jesus taught with authority and this fact is mentioned twice. He did not teach like the other teachers. He taught as one who spoke the very words of God. His words were like Scripture in their insistance on being obeyed. His words were not optional. They divided to the soul and spirit, joint and marrow. They cut to the quick. You either sided with Him (and by so doing God) or rejected Him and His God (the only God).
It is still so. Jesus' words are power. They are living water. They nurture the downtrodden and enlighten the simple. They illuminate the path of salvation and guide the thoughts of those entrusted with announcing this Message from pulpits, street corners, coffee shops, small groups, and radio programs. The Gospel is power. It is authoritative. It demands a response. It does not allow for apathy. By your ignorance you reject it. By your arrogance you defy it. By your obeisance you acknowledge it as your authority and your only boast before God through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.