After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!
- First, there are those tasks that simply must be done right now. For example, I ate a leftover, ridiculously spicy burrito for lunch. Had I delayed washing my plate, the sauce and melted cheese would have hardened into something like barnacle toughness. Such tasks as urgent.
- Second, there are tasks that cannot be done at present due to some situation. For example, regardless of how motivated I am to prepare my income taxes for this year, I can’t do it until the various documents begin to roll in. Similarly, I cannot grade all of my students’ final projects until after their due date.
- Third, we have the tasks that could be done at any time between now and some real or imagined due date. For example, once those student papers roll in, I’ll have a couple of weeks to complete the grading. I could do it immediately or I could wait until so close to the deadline that I ruin my mood for a few days. At my best, I’ll spread the work out so that it’s not unpleasant.
Look at what Jesus said to the people to whom he first preached. “The time has come.” When is the time? Now. He doesn’t tell his listeners to put repentance and belief on their To-Do lists. He says to do it now.
The time for response to the message of the Gospel is different for everyone, but actually it is always the same. The time is now. When Jesus encountered people he didn’t suggest that they mull the matter over. He wanted their response right then. As we’ll read in the next few days, the time for Peter came slightly before the time for John, yet the time in both cases was now. The time for Zacchaeus came years later, but the time was still now. The time for me came perhaps earlier, perhaps later than the time for you, but in both cases it came when Jesus came near and said, “Now.”
If you read what I write, you’ve probably already experienced that “Now” moment with Christ, but the time is “now” when Jesus calls us to acts of love and giving and service. Two thousand years later, the time is always now.