Sermon for 3rd Sunday of Epiphany, 01/24/2021
Psalm 62:6-14; Jonah 3:1-5, 10; 1st Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark1:14-20
Rev. Jerry Lyle
Collect: Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Well the psalmist this morning spoke to my heart, and I hope for each of you. He clearly sets the tone from the beginning when he said, “For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly my hope is in him. Clearly he is making a statement of his devotion to God, for he states in a very personal way, that he finds security in God, our Savior, through our prayer commitment, our belief in salvation, as God is our refuge, understanding human life compared to eternal life is a short amount of time, that God is characterized by love and power. We can depend upon Him always, like no one else.
Jonah reveals to us that he us completely human! Shocking, right! God calls Jonah to tell the Nineveh community that their wickedness has reached God’s recognition, and that they must repent or God would overturn the city in 40 days. Would you believe that the people did exactly what they were told to do and even the king proclaim that no one, man or beast was to eat or drink, herd or flock was not to taste anything, man and beast was to be covered by sackcloth; let every call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. God may relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger to that we will not perish! God saw that they had turned away from evil and returned to Him and God had compassion on them and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened! Nineveh the great city by the sea when told of what Jonah had brought to them from God, immediately changed and returned to God’s loving grace.
Some interpreters of Scripture believe Paul referred to the time until the Second Coming. Thus Paul would have meant that the necessary prelude for the age to come is the passing away of the world in its present from. In its place will dawn the new age. Each generation must live in the conviction that time is short. Whether the point of termination be death or Christ’s return, the time is short for all persons. Others believe Paul saw an immediate threat of severe persecution and recommended immediate threat of severe persecution and recommended waiting until the “crisis” passed to participate in life’s normal activities. Some believe God should tell us exactly when this will occur, but he knows us, we would wait until the last second to officially accept his terms! I say accept Him now, and avoid the rush!
Now we come to the Gospel message from Mark about proclaiming the Gospel message. Jesus is the supreme pattern of proclaiming the message. Upon the imprisonment of John the Baptist. He stepped into the spotlight to preach. He announced that the kingdom of God was at hand. People were to enter the kingdom of God through repentance and faith. As Jesus demonstrated the ministry of proclamation involves the announcement of eternal truth and the call for personal commitment. All true proclamation follows this pattern.
In Luke 5:8-11, we see that Christ’s miracle amazed fisherman Peter. He was teaching people who were following Him and then He saw two boats. He walked on to Simon’s boat and sat down and continued teaching the people. He then told Simon to put the boat out to deeper water, let down your nets, and Simon said, “Master,” we worked all night and haven’t caught anything.” But because you say so, I will let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish, that their nets began to break. They signaled the other boat and they came up and both boats were filled with fish.
Simon told Jesus, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” His companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Jesus. So what is it going to take, to answer God’s call on your live?? Amen.