Summary: Jesus’ message was and is one that demands a response. Even more than a response we are challenged to make a commitment that requires that we revisit and if necessary repent and renew our faith.
Believe the Good News - Revisit, Repent and Renew.
Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
I was a big thing - for Andrew and Simon, James and John and later the others- to leave the familiar and go off into the unknown. Especially for these men who, it seems were not thrill seekers, nor prodigals but solid members of family businesses. They grew up fishing as their father’s had fished before and with them. Some people are filled with a wanderlust - looking to the horizon, always on the move and find it hard to call anywhere home. These disciples do not seem to be of this ilk. Even when Jesus calls them away from their boats he says he will make them fishers of people. He casts their new job descriptions in images they can understand. It cannot have been easy, even though Mark’s Gospel tells us that they left their boats immediately. The time was at hand for Jesus’ public mission to begin and that Andrew and Simon, James and John were part of it.
The significance of the call of these simple men is highlighted in a story about Jesus’ return to heaven. The archangel Gabriel is talking to our Lord after Jesus’ returned to heaven. "Lord" said the archangel you have suffered terribly. Do those humans know and appreciate how you love them and what you did for them?" Jesus replied,"Not yet. At the moment just a few people in Palestine know." Gabriel was perplexed: "Then what have you done to let everyone know about your love?" Jesus answered, "I have asked Peter, Andrew, James, John, and a few others to tell others about me. They will tell others who will tell still others until every person on earth has heard the story of how I gave my life for them." Gabriel frowned and looked rather sceptical. "What if they become weary, or forget, or others don’t listen? Surely you have made other plans?" "No, Gabriel," replied Jesus, "I have made no other plans. I’m counting on them."
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." With these words Jesus launches his mission. A mission that was a concerted effort to communicate a message to as many people as possible. The message was not just one for our information. Like a memo a boss receives from a worker who merely wants to keep the employer abreast of what’s happening. This message was and is one that demands a response. Even more than a response this proclamation asks for commitment and in so doing requires that we revisit and if necessary repent and renew our commitment. Let us revisit, repent and renew our commitment to Christ this morning. Let’s do that by sitting a while with Jesus Proclamation: The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the good news.
The time was fulfilled: there are at least three ways of looking at time. For some time cycles around with the seasons. Time is sometimes measured by the phases of the moon. As the phases of the moon and the seasons of the year appear to cycle around so history appears to march forward, human life has a beginning and an end, even though we talk about the life cycle, our time on earth is limited and constrained by birth on one side and death on the other. Some have spoken of the seasons of life - childhood, youth, adulthood and maturity all having discernible common characteristics.
The second way is to measure time in a linear way.The Greek word for this linear way of viewing time is chronos, from which we get chronological or chronometer. We all know this way of dealing with time. The alarm goes off in the morning, we have to be at work by a certain time. We race to meet deadlines and to pick up children from the school or sport . Many would feel ruled by chronological time.
A third way of viewing time has more to do with meaning than measurement. This is the time that Jesus is referring to in his proclamation. It was the right time the fullness of time. There is a Greek word for this time too - Kairos - the right time or God’s moment. In this moment all appearances of cyclic time and realities of linear time loose much of their significance.
Perhaps one of the starkest illustrations of this for modern people is Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Presented with the setting along a quiet country road the audience is thrown into an agony of anticipation as the characters wait and wait and wait for Godot - who never turns up. Both the clock, and the seasons become insignificant, at least to the cast, if not the audience, compared to the anticipated arrival of Godot.