Summary: All pastors are temporary. There is only one permanent pastor, the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:14-20 E3B 1/25/09 Hope Lutheran, Plainwell
Pr. Dale B. Krueger
One Leader and Many Followers
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the gospel.” 16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Fifty-six years ago, in 1953, I was in my second semester at the seminary. The pastor of my home congregation, Trinity Lutheran in Faribault, Minnesota invited me to preach my first sermon on Easter Sunday, at all three services, one of which was broadcast over the radio. Imagine that, he asked me to preach the Gospel on the highest Sunday of the Church Year. Among the thousand people at worship that day were my father and my mother, my sisters and brother, uncles and aunts, cousins, the kids I went to school with and their parents, our teachers, the guys I had played basketball and softball with, the people for whom I was the paper boy. It was like I was a 21 year old rookie preacher send to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. Dear Pr. Lemke must have had confidence that I wouldn’t strike out.
I don’t claim to have a direct line to the Holy Spirit. But sometimes I look back and say, “Oh, it was You God behind all that.” You wanted all those people to affirm that You had called me to preach the Gospel as a pastor in your church. And so that is what I have been doing for the past 56 years, and that is what I have come to do in your midst.
You may think that my being in your midst is certainly temporary. Yes it is! At this point you have rented me to the end of February. But all pastors are temporary, whether they be senior pastors, associate pastors, assistant pastors, assistant to the pastor pastors, emeriti pastors, supply pastors, guest pastors, campus pastors, visitation pastors, vacancy pastors, intentional interim pastors. All these pastors are temporary. There is only one permanent pastor, the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. I am a very temporary pastor in your midst pointing to Him as I proclaim the Gospel of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
A father was filling out an application form for his daughter who was seeking entrance to a very exclusive college. He came to the question on the form which asked whether the applicant was a leader. In honesty he wrote, "No, but she is a good follower." The application was sent in and a month later a letter arrived notifying him that his daughter had been accepted. At the bottom of the page the dean had written, "Since the entering class of 500 has 499 leaders, we thought that there ought to be room for one follower."
Unlike the entering class of that college, every congregation has just one leader. JESUS CHRIST is our leader, and we have come together this morning to hear Him encourage and strengthen us in the task that He calls us to do as a congregation. He speaks to us in the Word and says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the gospel.” “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” You are a fellowship of people who are following Jesus on His mission of bringing the Gospel to people.
The first words of His ministry were “The time is fulfilled”. Into the world that He created, God placed the human being. Adam and Eve were in perfect harmony with God and nature and each other and within themselves. We were there in Adam and Eve. But then, we decided that we could do better on our own and the result was disharmony. But God had a plan. He would restore the human being to himself again at the right time. Paul wrote, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Jesus announces that the time has come for God to fulfill his plan. “The kingdom of God has come near.” The Kingdom of God is the Spirit of God working in the hearts of people to restore them to Himself. Jesus came to love us, to forgive us and to carry us in himself beyond our sin and into a new life. Our sin is no longer ours to bear because Jesus has bore it in his body on the cross and in his resurrection God declares we are all forgiven for Christ’s sake. He suffered and died on the cross in our stead. But on the third day the Father raised him from the dead in victory and the good news is that Jesus shares His victory with us. God has come in Jesus to save us, to redeem us, to rescue us, to forgive us and to give us a sure hope for the present and for the future. The Gospel is that God has forgiven you through the work of Jesus Christ.