Instant gratification is king!
I do most of my reading in the eBook format. One of the reasons that I like eBooks is because I can get them NOW! I do not need to make a trip to the library (and it might not even have the book I want). Even Amazon’s 2 day delivery is just that: 2 days! A second hand book seller is not as convenient as my cell phone. If I want to read a book all I need to do is browse, buy, read: perfect.
But then the imperfect happens. I want to be finished with the book so I can do it again.
Mark 1:14-20: Message and Call of Jesus
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. (Mark 1:14-20–ESV)
Instant Christianity but not instant coffee?
I do not like instant coffee, but I do want brewed coffee instantly. I want good stuff now, but good things are usually not instant things.
For some reason when I read verses like Mark 1:15 I expect instant things. I expect full disclosure. My first reaction is a demand that all the cards be put on the table, but they aren’t.
All of my life I have been taught to seize the moment of believing in Jesus. What is the deal that I am supposed to grasp and hold on to for dear life (or dear eternity)? It is that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died, was buried and then was raised to life. This gave us the way to heaven. We are taught the ABCs of salvation. That is, all have sinned, believe in Jesus Christ, confess your sins, etc., etc. Evangelists of our era come with their strong “Believe now or else!” messages.
When Jesus went into Galilee he gave as much disclosure as he deemed best. That is what we read here in Mark 1:15. We must remember that Mark’s biography of Jesus was written many years after full disclosure had finally come.
What about those who did not know the full package?
What is Jesus recorded as having said? Repent and believe. What were they to believe in? That which they already knew. They were to live according to the law of Moses and the things that they had already been taught. What were they to do? Repent. Each of us knows what is right to some extent. Jesus said, “Do it.”
Jesus would show them more and more as time went on. He thought that was sufficient. I get the buzz of the evangelists in my head. “Seize the day!” they say. That sound clangs in my head and then I put that clanging back on the people that Jesus was talking to. Then I get to worrying that they might not have known enough. Do I believe the buzz or do I believe the approach of Christ? I think I believe the buzz, but on consideration think the approach of Christ, but at a first reading I twitch.
God’s speed (Godspeed)
In verse 16 Jesus walks along and calls the first disciples. He told them that he would make them fishers of men. They were fishers of fish when Jesus showed up, but he would teach something better.
Did Peter and Andrew, James and John get full disclosure on the package of Jesus? Not at the beginning. They only were called to act now on the call then given. After step number 1 of obedience they would begin walking with Jesus. They would walk with him for the next three years. Then they would walk with the Holy Spirit alongside of them until they died. That would be enough. They would grow and learn and they would find gradual disclosure.
The message to us is the same: repent and believe. We know what our personal sins are. Accept that the way of Christ is crucial. Reject the bad and accept the good. Believe the things that you have come to know. Paul said, “if at some point you think differently that too God will make clear to you, but live up to that which you have attained.” That is in his letter to the Philippians.
I think that the reason I want instant and full disclosure is because I fear that some people won’t get enough information in time and will end up in hell over that. The shortcoming with this is that I risk accusing God of being unfair. Accusing God of something is a big mistake and risks a rebuke like Job received in Job 42:3. That is a topic for another entry, but God is patient not wanting any to perish. Jesus was the ultimate example of self-sacrifice. I must not fear that God will tell someone too little and discard them into hell.
Key points from this section:
- I want too much too fast
- Godspeed is just that
- God will tell us what we need when we need it
- We know what we need to repent from. We should do it.