One-hundred-twenty years ago, *Louis Klopsch, editor of The Christian Herald magazine published the first red letter New Testament. Two years ago David Crowder wrote a powerful song entitled “Red Letters” that has testified of Jesus’ great love and salvation to many. Recently I came across a small handbook called *Red Letters Volume 2, Mark & Luke, that simply lists the words of Jesus as quoted in those two Gospels.
Right now especially we are inundated with words…quotations of prominent scientists, doctors, and experts. Politicians and the news media weigh in with a barrage of information. Then there is the Facebook phenomenon where all comments and opinions are fair game. It can be overwhelming and frustrating that there seems to be no trustworthy word. Except there is! We have The Word, and within that Word, we can ‘hear’ Jesus speaking to us through his own powerful, healing words. Meditating on these words have given me peace. They calm this hailstorm of unsettling words and events. I hope these thoughts from Jesus’ words will encourage you as well.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14b (ESV)
After Jesus’ baptism and temptation, he was ready to take on the task for which he had come to earth. These first words of Jesus, as quoted by Mark, announce the beginning of his ministry. They reveal three things:
1. Timing. “The time is fulfilled…” His timing is always perfect for his purposes, not always for ours. My husband came down with a bad cold and even though the symptoms were not typical for CoVid, we decided he should be tested when he started running a fever, because he is in the high-risk group. It will take up to two weeks to get the results. This would not be my time-line! I want the results now. Jesus knew when the time was right for this announcement. He also knows when the time is right for events to play out in our lives. If we follow him, we can trust that he knows the right time to reveal his ways to us.
2. Purpose. “…and the kingdom of God is at hand:” To build the Kingdom of God has been his stated purpose from the beginning. This is a powerful and worthy purpose. He calls us to join him in this grand work. His purpose is a life-long, life-giving purpose.
3. Command. “…repent and believe in the Gospel.” Jesus’ purpose is worthy of any sacrifice he asks us to make, or any action he tells us to take. Nothing should deter us from making the choices that align our lives with Jesus’ timing, purpose and commands. This is the “Good News” that brings peace and joy. We have Jesus and his words to guide us.
Have a ‘read-letter-day’…read his word and relax in his ways, devote yourself to his purpose, and fill your life with his “Good News”.