Sermon Text: Mark 1:14-20
January 25, 2015 — 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN!
Beloved in the Lord,
Did you have your Nap Today?
Maybe you’ve seen the latest video trending on youtube. It’s a video of two young children; a “goldilocks” about 2 years old, and her older blue eyed brother. They’re sitting at the dinner table and little sister is crying. Oh, she’s crying like 2 year olds do when they need a nap. She’s crying and she doesn’t know why. She cries to the left and she cries to the right. Oh, the sorrow that fills her heart as the tears flow down her cheek. Big brother is watching and simply asks, “did you get your nap today?” Oh, and the crying begins again. “No! weeps goldilocks.” No she didn’t get her nap. Oh, how the tears are flowing. And big brother trying to help, replies once more, “well you need one.” No, I don’t, she cries. “No I don’t.” It’s a picture we’ve all seen in our children. Little one’s crying because they need to rest. Thankfully, goldilocks grows up and our little ones stop crying when they need naps. Well, little ones grow up into adults, but for so many the crying continues . . . on the inside.
Stepping into an Anxious World
This is our world, a world full of grown-ups who need rest, grown-ups who cry but refuse to listen, grown-ups who hurt and neglect the remedy. It’s into this world, our world that Jesus steps. John has been arrested. The herald’s time is fulfilled. John must decrease and Jesus must increase. The Mightier One is here. Wet with the Father’s blessing, and battle tested in the wilderness, this Mightier One has come for the redemption of the world, the peace which surpasses all understanding, to give rest to the weary. He’s come for you and me and all people. He’s come for Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, all who suffer the curse, all who cry on the inside.
Anxious and Restless Lives
Like our trending goldilocks we suffer the consequences of our works. Like two year olds we exert our independence. And like stubborn children we refuse the comfort of the one who knows better, the one who knows us better. We think that because we’re all grown up that we can go about doing whatever it is we’d like, whatever it is that makes us feel good. We chase the delights of the flesh. We indulge in forbidden pleasures. We serve our bellies or our libidos, or both. We cater to our self-esteem and stroke our egos. We long to be affirmed in our wrongs while denying our duty to be right. We covet and we possess. We desire and we lust. Our eyes wander because our hearts love the wrong things. And our hearts hurt because those whom we love, we love for pleasure’s sake rather than for the sake of our beloved. We love to get from rather than give to. Someone is always taking from us so we are always taking from others. And all of this chasing, indulging, self-serving, catering, stroking, longing, coveting, lusting, desiring, wrong loving, and taking is exhausting. It is sin. And sin’s toll is death. The exhaustion we suffer, the tears we cry on the inside, the hurts we feel deep down, are symptoms of a greater crisis. In reality we are suffering a crisis of the heart and of the soul, one which permeates our whole being and touches every aspect of our life. And it is a crisis we cannot fix ourselves. We don’t need to do more. What we need is to be still and know that the Lord is God. We need to stop. We need to repent. And we need to rest.
Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom
And our rest is not found in the lack of work, nor is it discovered in the methods of our piety, the intensity of our love, or the fervor of our devotion to our hearts desire. Our rest is found in a person, a savior, one Mightier than us, one who brings good news of the Kingdom of God. He is Jesus and He steps forth into our world, into our lives, to work His Wonders that we may know His power and His might, that all may know His Name, that He is the Lord.
This Jesus works His wonders through His Word. Jesus has not come in the majesty of His eternal glory, but in the humility of our mortality. Jesus has not come to swing swords or gather armies. He’s not come in splendor and radiance but in simplicity and ordinariness. And though Jesus went about doing good, working miracles, astounding the wise and fool alike, His chief labor of love was to preach. And so Jesus appears on the scene of this broken world preaching the gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God. And this is no ordinary good news. This is not man’s kind of good. This is God’s good news. This is God’s kind of Good, the good from the beginning, the Very Good spoken over all creation. It’s the Good News of Isaiah’s messenger, the one with beautiful feet, who publishes peace, and brings good news of Happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” This is the good news of the Kingdom of God! The Lord is comforting His people, He’s redeeming Jerusalem.
And what sort of comfort is He giving? To His people He cries, He speaks tenderly to His Jerusalem. Her warfare is ended. Her iniquity is pardoned. She has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. (Isa 40:1-2 ESV) Not twice as much punishment or wrath, but a double blessing of His grace and Mercy. The Lord delights in love and love forgives. Love bears all things, even the cost of forgiveness. The good news of God’s reign is that His Son has appeared to bare His holy arm before the eyes or the nations. God has become flesh. He has taken upon Himself our nature, our poverty, our curse that in Him the curse is put death, through death on the tree. Cursed is the man who hangs on the tree.
There is your curse! It is crucified in the death of Jesus.
There is your sin. It is covered in the wounds of Jesus.
There is your peace. It is purchased by the blood of Jesus.
There is your comfort. It is in the body of Jesus.
There is your rest. It is won in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
There is your God! There He reigns for all the nations to see! How beautiful are the feet of Him who is good news in the flesh for you and for the world!
Finding Men in the Water
And this good news is quite mobile. He doesn’t stand in one place calling to the nations, but He moves about crying to the left and crying to the right, calling the people to follow, exhorting them to rest. And who does he find first? He finds Peter and then Andrew, and then James and John. And where does He find them? He finds them in the water, but they are in the water for themselves. They are fishermen. They are in the water to live and move and have their being. But Jesus calls them out of the water. So, out of the water they come and following Jesus they go.
You also have been called out of the water, the waters of your baptism to live and move and have your whole being in the Word and promises of your God. For there through water and the divine Word, the Savior has called you by your name. He’s crossed you with His cross and raised you with His resurrection. All that is His He has given to you. And all that weighed heavy on your heart; all your hurts and sorrows, all your guilt and shame, all your sins and all your tears, He has taken them away, taken them unto Himself and buried them forever in His death. He’s caught you in the net of His Word and brought you into the fellowship of His church. You are His and He is yours. No need to be anxious. No need to be afraid. No need to doubt. No need for chasing, indulging, self-serving, catering, stroking, longing, coveting, lusting, desiring, wrong loving, and taking. No need to exhaust yourself attempting to still your restless heart. Jesus has given you the good news, poured it into your heart by the Holy Spirit, and brought you into His rest by His grace.
Call to Follow and to Rest (You need a nap)
Beloved in the Lord, there are many who would read this text and believe that all Christians must be made into “fishers of men.” But that’s not what the text says, nor is it what the text means. Indeed, some are to be “fishers of men.” But most are not. These men who are to be fishers of men have that as their vocation. Jesus has specially called them to not only follow – which is the call to every person – but also to fish, which is the call to certain persons. You do not need to fish for men. You need to be caught in the net of His Word. You need to be gathered into the ark of His Church. You need to be comforted with the forgiveness of sins. You need to be at peace with your God and your neighbor. No beloved, you don’t need to continue crying to the left and crying to the right, crying on the pillows, or crying on the inside. You need to rest in the good news of your God. Your warfare has ended. Your iniquity has been pardoned. You have received double for your sins. And Jesus has paid for it all with His blood. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!