In an episode of The Simpsons,
Homer Simpson is visited by his guardian angel.
Understanding that Homer needs to begin a NEW learning process
guided by someone known or familiar,
the angel assumes the identity of Oscar Wilde.
When Homer doesn’t recognize him,
he tries again…and this time appears as Vincent Van Gogh. Still no luck.
Finally, the guardian angel appears to Homer as the image of Colonel Klink
from the TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes”.
Homer instantly recognizes him, and follows his directions.
We’re NOT going to follow anyone we don’t recognize.
The PROBLEM is…sometimes, those we RECOGNIZE
in our culture…have NOTHING worth following.
Jesus uttered these words, NOT once, but many many times.
–To Peter and Andrew by the Sea of Galilee;
–To Levi, at the seat of customs;
–To the balking inquirer, Jesus’ words were:
“Leave the dead to bury the dead, and come, follow me.”
–To the rich young ruler:
“Sell what you have, give to the poor, and come, follow me.”
…And to every person, in this time, and succeeding times:
“If anyone would come after me,
let them deny themselves,
and take up their cross..and FOLLOW me.”
These words of COMMAND are plain…and disconcertingly personal.
They cut through any maze of theology.
They don’t care about denomination or culture or language or creed.
They do not bow to rank or privilege.
They are tall enough,
and deep enough,
and sturdy enough…
…to guide ALL of us through the hardest times.
This is what we get, basically, in the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus says follow me…and people follow.
–And teaching happens,
–and healing happens,
–and hope is offered,
–and expectations are overturned,
–and the REIGN of GOD is made manifest in Jesus’ presence.
You see it all through out this gospel, as the pace picks up
Jesus…he moves from place to place
he calls on people to follow
and not only do people recognize Jesus as he passes by
but people RUSH to him.
What is it about Jesus that compels people to RUSH to him?