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The Preacher Who Dares to Say: "Repent!" Mark 1:9-15 / Lent 1B

February 26, 2012

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St. Mark 1:9-15


Did you hear what the Preacher said?  The Preacher from Nazareth Jesus?  Beloved Son of the Father – most pleased Son of the Father — and full of the Holy Spirit Jesus? 


I hope you weren’t nodding off!  I sure hope you were paying attention!  After all, we’re so used to blowing off sermons.  I can’t even remember what I preached last week!  And if I can’t remember, what does that say about my poor preaching?  How you put up with it week after week I’ll never know.  But today – today — this is one of the most important sermons you will ever hear in your life! 


If you have ever said, “Today I’m going to pay attention to the Preacher; I’m really going to concentrate on listening,” then here’s your chance.  For today the Preacher is none other than the Lord Jesus Himself!  God in the flesh Jesus!  No other God than this man born of the Virgin – Jesus!  Word of God made flesh Jesus!  His words are God’s words!  When Jesus speaks – God speaks!  To you!  That’s why the Father said last week on the Mount of Transfiguration:  “Listen to Him [Jesus]!”    


And so today it’s a full blast from heaven – Kingdom of God – sermon!  No holds barred!  Preacher Jesus throws caution to the wind!  He says what needs to be said!  He doesn’t ask the communication experts at the seminary.  He doesn’t survey the congregation to get their input on preaching or what the congregation would like to hear. 


He just steps right up in the Galilean pulpit and categorically declares:  “The time has come!  The kingdom of God is here! Right now!  Right before your very eyes and ears!”


Did you hear that?  No one had ever preached that before!  Not even Abraham!  Not even Moses or Elijah!  They couldn’t!  They were always waiting!  Waiting for the time of the promised Savior!  But now the wait is over!  The promised Savior, the King, the Kingdom is here!  Right before our very eyes!  He’s the Galilean Preacher – Jesus!


Yes, “the time of salvation has come!  God reigns on the earth right now!” 


Do you realize what Jesus’ full blast sermon means?  It means that you can’t put God off any longer!  You can’t keep Him at bay!  You can’t keep Him at arm’s length!  You can’t hole Him up in the future!  All your defenses – all your excuses – all your walls to keep God out of your life and away from your sin have now been breached!  Ruptured!  Broken!  There’s no escaping Him!  He’s here!  He has come!  Invaded your crib!  Intruded into your very life!  Barged right in!  Crashed your party!  Interrupted your relentless ambition to be little deities for yourselves.  Ruined and spoiled all your self-preaching – with your own words – with your own excuses – with all your self-justifying talk!


And more!  This “time has come – the kingdom of God is at hand” sermon from the Lord Jesus is more devastating than you could ever imagine!  With those words – with that sermon — the eternal Word made flesh Son of God Jesus has come to – take your sin away from you – give you a new heart – and give you someone to trust.  And all that will just KILL YOU!  Seriously!  No joke! 


After all, there is only one thing to be done with the old Adam or the old Eve – your sinful nature!  And what is that?  Reform him?  Domesticate her?  Correct him?  Rehabilitate her?  Civilize him?  Educate her?  No!  No!  No!  The old Adam / old Eve must be killed!  Put to death! 


And so when Preacher Jesus shows up, when God roams the earth in the Man Jesus, He invades your life!  He gets in your face!  In your grill!  And it’s time!  Time to die!  The sinner must die!  No more fending God off or keeping Him separate from you and all your sin! 


All this in order to lead you to repentance!  “The time has come!  The kingdom of God is here!  Repent!”  He dared to preach it!  That nasty six-letter word!  “R-E-P-E-N-T!”  Preach that and the old Adam and old Eve go ballistic!  Off the deep end!  Off the charts rebellion!  The old Adam and old Eve go into full-blown anarchist occupy kingdom of God mode!  “We protest!” they declare.  “We object!” they shout.  “Down with this Preacher who claims to be God!” they proclaim.  “We’re in control here!  We’re gods unto ourselves!  So crucify Him!  Crucify Him!  Time to get rid of this troublemaker!  He’s trying to do us in!”


Uh … yeah!  That’s right!  Duh!  Double Duh! 


Do you in!  Bingo!  Bang on!  “Repent!”  Yes, He’s saying that to you!  He’s not preaching to the pews or to the walls!  He’s preaching to you!  “Repent!”  In other words, DIE!  Die to your sin! Sin is not your governor!  Sin is not your lord.  For there is a new Lord in town!  “The kingdom of God is at hand!”  That’s Jesus!  Lord Jesus!  His is a new reign!  He is a new King!  A new Lord!    


A new Lord who has come to take away the sin of the world! 


How?  By taking all of it in His Body on the cross!  The only begotten Son of the Father is THE ONE AND ONLY sacrifice for all sin and for every sinner!  Your sin is His!  At Calvary!  He has and carries sin – yours and the worlds!  Greatest of all sinners Jesus has all your sin in His Body on the cross!  Maximum Sinner on the cross Jesus – bearing all sin — takes the sinner’s damnation!  He becomes a curse (Galatians 3:13) while hanging on the tree!  He who knew no sin was made to be sin for you (2 Corinthians 5:21) on the tree!


That’s how deep Jesus goes into your life!  This is how far the kingdom of God comes into your midst!  Jesus goes after all your sin!  Takes it away from you!  Takes it as His own!


Satan tried to tempt Jesus to not do that!  Those temptations of Satan in the wilderness were all about trying to keep Jesus and your sins as far apart from one another as possible!  In other words, keep Jesus and your sins totally separate from each other!  Then, of course, Jesus is really of no use to you or anyone!


But Jesus will have none of that!  He comes down from heaven!  “The time has come!  The kingdom of God is here!”  All of heaven has arrived in Him!  He has come to get sinners and take their sin!  And so He lays down His life for the sheep!  For you! 


Would you dare to keep your sin off or away from Jesus?  Would you insist on keeping your sin to yourself?  Taking care of your own sin all on your own? 


Your salvation depends on Jesus taking all your sin and becoming sin!  After all, either your sin will be on you or on Jesus!  If your sin is not carried by Jesus, then it all remains on you!  And you will die and be damned in it! 


But I tell you that Jesus has taken your sin!  He is totally Calvary-wrapped in all your sin!  Your sin is His!  He left none out!  Therefore, your sin is governed!  Lorded!  Governed and lorded by Jesus’ divine Blood shed and poured out on the cross!  When all your sin is on Jesus, then it is defeated sin!  It is forgiven sin! 


And so here is the “good news!”  You are forgiven!  Jesus died for you!  The kingdom of God has come for you and to you!  Jesus reigns over you and for you with His Blood!  His Blood is the divine Blood that cleanses you from all sin.   That’s salvation!  The Jesus way!  The Kingdom of God way!


Today Jesus turns to you.  With all that He is and with all that He has for you in one more sermon.  In a few minutes you’ll hear the living voice of Jesus again when He says:  “The time has come!  I reign among you still!  Eat this bread.  It is my Body.  Drink the wine.  It is the New Testament in my Blood given and shed for you.  And I promise that your sin is forgiven!”


He’s talking to you!  They are His living words addressed to you!  With such a magnificent promise from the Lord Himself you have life and salvation.  And to all that from the Lord, faith says:  “Amen!  Truth!”


In the Name of Jesus.           

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