The Time is Fulfilled

A sermon based on Mark 1: 14-20

Do you think Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John really just met Jesus for the first time and were ready to leave, immediately, on an adventure of discipleship. That’s how we’re generally taught this story of their calling in Sunday School, but many scholars believe it more likely that these disciples already were familiar with Jesus, probably through their relationship with his cousin, whom we know as John the Baptist.

Dr. Matt Skinner from Luther Seminary and Working Preacher says it this way:

“When Jesus first summoned Simon, Andrew, James, and John (and maybe also when he called Mary Magdalene, Mary, Salome, and others), those people weren’t encountering a charismatic stranger for the first time. It’s not that he suddenly broke into their lives announcing that their number had come up in the great discipleship sweepstakes. They were hearing a familiar preacher and perhaps even a friend telling them that the time for a new direction or a new intensity had arrived. Jesus was ready and now—now!—they needed to be, too.”

There are times in our lives when we can coast along in our discipleship; when we can take some time to just sit at Jesus feet on Sunday mornings and hang out at our day jobs the rest of the week.  And there are time when the call of discipleship looks like 6 sentences in Mark – fast and furious, with an immediately or two thrown in for good measure.  And knowing the difference between those two times – well, that’s why Dr. Skinner says telling time is so hard.

I think as we emerge from our COVID cocoons this spring and summer and fall, we’ll find that we are in a time for action as Christians. I’m preparing right now for an “immediately” or two in our church’s future — are you ready?

Watch the full sermon here.