As Jesus begins his ministry proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God, he calls his first disciples. These are to be the first who follow him closely enough to learn his way directly - from Jesus the person. Our lesson comes from noticing how Mark describes their response when Jesus lets them know it's "go time." Without delay, they leave everything else behind to follow Jesus wherever he will lead them.
This message draws upon Proverbs 2 for insight into how we, the Church, can help our community as the coronavirus crisis deepens.
The Coronavirus pandemic has gotten everyone's attention. Numbers of cases of people infected with this new virus increase rapidly, and some people are dying. There is more that is unknown about this disease than is known. At such times, fear begins to distort the reality of the situation.
This sermon highlights current facts about the disease according to trusted experts. Several suggestions are made regarding how Christians can see these developments, finding hope rather than fear and panic.
The wisdom of God is manifest in everything God has made. Yet, our times are marked by atheism - or at least agnosticism - among the smartest and most knowledgeable people in our culture. Several of the Proverbs teach us that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." God teaches his wisdom to those who respect him as God and who seek his will in order to obey it.
When Jesus came proclaiming "the kingdom is near," he was announcing that, with him, the Kingdom of God is arriving. Jesus is the Christ, the One promised to continue forever on throne of David. With Jesus' arrival, Israel's error in rejecting God as their king (1 Sam. 8:7) is being corrected. Better than any other king, Jesus provides and protects God's people.
James concludes by encouraging us to be ready to take action when we see a brother or sister in spiritual peril. This world is as deceitful as ever. Christians can find themselves well down the wrong path before realizing what's happening. We need to watch out for each other and, drawing on the wisdom and power of the Bible, call one another to account. Doing so rescues souls from eternal condemnation.