Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DEVMISSED 2014-04-08 [Lent2014] 11.Succintly - part 3

15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark1:15

In Mark's Gospel these are Jesus' first words. There's a lot of meaning squeezed into these three sentences. The last sentence brings us to a place of response.

The Kingdom has been brought near through the coming of Christ. His human presence in our broken existence is our evidence that no matter how dark it may be (remember Psalm 139 ?) God is with us. The kairos has come about. The time is now - now rather than tomorrow or next week! It is time for us to repent and believe the Good News.

Both of these verbs come in the imperative form, they are urgent instructions crackling with the energy of the enormity of _concept_ (the kingdom is near through Christ's incarnation) and the _occasion_ (the time has come). But what do they mean?

To repent is to turn away from something towards something new. It is to change one's ways. It is a change of focus or direction, it is a new beginning.

To believe is to put one's hope, trust and confidence in someone or something. It is to base one's existence on a set of hopes and convictions. It is to adopt a new value and meaning system.

What are they turning (repenting) towards? What are they basing their confidence (belief) on? The Good News!
But what is the Good News?
The Good News that the kingdom is emBODIED in Christ. That His Presence in our darkness is Good News. The Good News is that religion is not "pie in the sky one day when you die" but the reality of kairos (the time that has come)- hope that can pour into my life right now.

The order Jesus places these two verbs in is interesting: I would have placed belief before repentance and elsewhere in the New Testament this is the case. But I think there are times that we are so "stuck in a rut" and trapped in old patterns of thinking that we don't see things clearly. Sometimes it is only when we take the plunge of letting the old go that we can see the new clearly.

My question, at the end of all of this, is:
"Do you think this instruction is a once-off? Do you think as Christians we can say 'Been there done that?' Or are we so "stuck in the rut" of routine and sameness that we need to repent _before_ we can believe afresh? The Good News is a "Kairos" thing (not yesterday or 20 years ago when I became a Christian) it is about today. Do you need to repent and believe today? I'm pretty sure I do...

Theo Groeneveld theo@emmanuel.org.za
You can see past EmmDevs at http://emmdev.blogspot.com/

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