Third Sunday after the Epiphany
The teaching of Jesus is clear. The clock is ticking, the sands of time are running out, and soon! God’s kingdom is coming and we’d better be ready. The kingdom will bring healing to our pain and suffering, and reconciliation to our broken relationships.
But there is no room in the kingdom for the things we love the most: pride and our idols. What Jesus taught in the Beatitudes about the poor and meek—that’s going to come true! Scary! We may not know exactly what it means to repent, but we do know it means we can’t keep setting our hearts on relationships, career, financial security, or family as the path to fulfillment. Only Jesus can give that!
We may be very comfortable with the idea of God as we imagine, and be willing to grant the beauty and goodness of Jesus and the Bible. We may be less than happy to give up our efforts to make God our debtor, to earn our own place in heaven. Jesus gives us the remedy for our condition: “Repent, and believe.” That’s about as welcome as a round of chemotherapy—and just as necessary.
Jesus warns us to judge ourselves by God’s standards and to turn to him for a change in our thought, our words, and our affections. And Jesus warns us to refuse to obey the stupid lie that we can make ourselves good enough for God. Instead, respond to the Savior’s invitation and find new life today! Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled . . . repent, and believe.” Right now!
Bill Andrews, pastor, St. Paul’s Moravian Church,
Upper Marlboro, Maryland