It was 48 hours before Thanksgiving 2013. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, unlike Christmas there are no last-minute deadlines, presents, or gift-receipts to worry about. 2013, unlike the years before or after had some added excitement, we had finished our adoption paperwork and all that was left was the hurry-up and wait. We were told that “our” baby could be born in hours, days, or weeks. Fast-forward 24 hours before Thanksgiving 2013. All of a sudden, I started to get sick. Run of the mill cold symptoms, stuff that doesn’t warrant spending a $25 copay, or risking sitting in a doctor’s office with sick people and risk catching something, something that rest, Nyquil and a soft bed can fix. That is until about 12 hours until Thanksgiving. Chelsea was working nights and it was around 6:00 a.m. I was lying in bed groggy, coughing, and uncomfortable (like the guy in a Nyquil ad with Kleenex’s everywhere)-not a pretty sight when my phone started to ring. My wife said, “It’s time, the birth mother is at the hospital!” Talk about a simple message. Just a few words (simple message). All of a sudden, I went from having no-where to be, to having somewhere to go! A few words changed everything. I still can remember rushing to Prompt-Care, rushing around looking for socks, patting myself down trying to make sure I had everything (urgent calling) and when I finally got in the room I told the doctor the context, “Listen, I have a baby to go meet!” It was all riding on her medical opinion, all those years of med-school, all the training, all the preparation…Would I be allowed to go into his room, to hold him, to touch him…? (surpassing authority)
Today, just like my Thanksgiving experience in 2013, as we continue in our sermon series through the Gospel of Mark, it is as Jesus steps onto the public platform for the first time, after being baptized, tested in the desert, that it is with just a few words that the world changes. In our text today from Mark 1:14-28, we find that Christ, the one marked as the Messiah—anointed one, Savior, had come with a…
A Simple Message (Mark 1:14-15) 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” (The OT had told of the coming Messiah, but no one was sure when it would happen, just like expecting parents are never quite sure what day will be the day or what hour will be the hour. The waiting is over! When Chelsea called me early on Thanksgiving 2013, she didn’t need to give me a complicated message, it was the same simple message of Christ-“the time has come” which got me out of bed, into action. Christ is the ringing phone, the alarm bell, the siren sounding—it is time, but time for what? ) he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark doesn’t give us a birth account, but the other gospels make clear that Jesus is eternally of God, but born as a baby through a woman. Fully God, and fully man—He had brought the kingdom of God near, but what would God’s message to mankind be?
Getting across a message can be hard. It can cost millions or take hundreds of tries with even the simplest message or product. I am going to show you an image and I want you to tell me the slogan that goes with it! (Show the Milk Moustache—“GOT MILK?”/ Nike swoosh sign—“JUST DO IT!”), In 2014, Nike spent $3.031 billion dollars in advertising, that is over $100 per second so you could answer that question correctly! Jesus spent nothing, instead of selling a pair of shoes, he came offering salvation, with one of the simplest messages of all: REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS.
Sometimes, in church or even with God’s word, it is hard to find a place to land, with so many bible places, people, stories and cultures, in an OT system that is so foreign to us with its 613 laws, Jesus instead of over-the-top complication brought profound simplicity! Repent is simple—Turn from the direction you are going, turn from the life you are living, turn from the gods you are serving, and walk the other way! The good news—one commenter put it, “Is from God and about God!” It is in walking the other way, that the good news becomes possible. A message from God, but also about Jesus Christ—that he had come to live as man, die for man, and raise all of mankind above death! Books are written, libraries filled, and Jesus says it in 6 words. It is the same message that Paul used before King Agrippa in Acts 26:19-20, Paul says, “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God . . .”