Scripture: Mark 1:14-15 CEB “After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” This coming summer will mark 19 years since I accepted my first appointment as a pastor. It’s difficult sometimes to wrap our mind around how quickly time passes. Have you had times where you circled a date on the calendar and thought it would never come? Maybe it was your graduation or wedding date or some other major event. It seems when we first write something on our calendar the date just seems so far off. Inevitably, the date we thought was so far away arrives much faster than we ever thought it would. Time has a way of doing that to us. The last 7 months have been a time of disbelief for me as I come to grips with the reality that our oldest daughter is in her first year of college. You see she was only three months old when I started my first appointment as a pastor. The day she would start college seemed so far away and yet it has arrived. As I read the words of John the Baptist recorded in The Gospel of Mark, I cannot help but think that this may have been the way people felt. The promise of the coming Messiah has been talked about and conjectured for hundreds of years. Some were wondering if it would ever come. Then there comes a prophet after 400 hundred years of no prophecy. There is one who is crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:3). John the Baptist is calling people to repent and be baptized in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. John tells people, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” John prepares the way for the Messiah and eventually is arrested for stirring up the crowds because the religious leaders did not know what to do with his prophecy. Then enters Jesus! Jesus came into Galilee “announcing God’s good news, saying, ‘Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!’” The people must have literally freaked out. None of them had really heard prophecy before John the Baptist. John’s ministry was to point to Jesus, the One who would come after him. Now is the time! Jesus is here! Can you imagine what they must have thought? All this time we have been waiting and this could be it! The time has come. Could this be the Messiah? The New Testament records how many people heard Jesus, saw the miracles, and believed that he was the Messiah. It also records that many rejected Jesus and some sought to kill him. Regardless of the response, the reality is that the Messiah had come. Now is the time! Their long wait was over and God’s kingdom was coming. Now is the time for you and me. Jesus is alive. Jesus is still Messiah, our Savior. The challenge for us is to make this a reality in our heart and life. We cannot think, behave, or live like the rest of the world when we know Jesus. Jesus calls us to change our heart and life. Jesus calls us to abide in Him and to love him. Jesus calls us to love each other so deeply that the people around us will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are Jesus’ disciples. Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your heart and life, and trust this good news! Prayer: Holy God who transforms the hearts and lives of those you love. Grant that I may realize that now is the time. Empower me to live for you. May I hold every thought captive to your will and live in a way that points people to you. I don’t want to leave any doubt about being your disciple. May I love like Jesus today. Amen.