Malachi 4, Matthew 3:1-13, Matthew 21:1-11
Someone’s Calling: The Story of Scripture
God: to creation: out of nothing, creation bursts forth
God: in the garden, to humankind, “Where are you?
God: to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
God: to Noah, “Go and build and Ark” (the scripture says up until that time it had not rained)
God: to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation” (Abraham and Sarah were barren)
God: to Abraham, “I need your one and only son” That was everything to Abraham, but he acknowledged “God will provide”
God: to Jacob, who was aware, “Surely God was in this place and I did not know it”
God: to Jacob, “I am giving you a new name”
Pharaoh: to Joseph, prepare the land for a famine
God: to Moses, “Moses! Moses!” (by name), “I am your God”, “Go to Pharaoh and say, ‘Let my people go!’”
Moses: to the Israelites through law, “Thou shalt not have any gods before
God: To Joshua, Get ready to cross the Jordan and enter the land I promised you.
(Isaiah had said, when you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you)
God: To Samuel, “Go and Tell Eli” (a youth called to confront a powerful yet unjust priest)
God: To Elijah, “What are you doing here? There are 7000 that have not bowed the knee to false gods”
God: To Isaiah, Who shall go for me? Whom shall I send? Tell them…
God: To Jeremiah, “Before I formed you, I knew you”
God: to Habakkuk, “Write this down, you won’t believe it”
Nebuchadnezzar: to Daniel, “Come out from the den if God has rescued you”
Artaxerxes: To Nehemiah, Return to your land
Malachi: to the people, Revere the name of God, and the sun of righteousness will rise up with healing in its wings.
Tell the people; Elijah is coming, and he will announce the Lord’s coming. He’ll turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the children back to their fathers. Or else.
(the understanding that Elijah was going to return and announce the coming of the Messiah. Jesus states that if the people could accept it, John the Baptist was the Elijah to come)
John the Baptist: to the crowds
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance
Don’t rely on your past merits and your titles
God will raise up children from these stones, don’t feel entitlement
I am baptizing with water, but one is coming after me, who will
baptize with the Holy Spirit.
The crowds: to Jesus
Praise the Lord. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Jesus: to the skeptics: If the people stay quiet, the stones will cry out.
Someone’s Calling: TO YOU & TO ME
Common Responses to Call:
Fear: fear of the unknown
Anxiety: change can be challenging
Wonder: the heart begins to expand
Adventure: we respond to the invitation
Getting to work: obey and follow Jesus.
Faith: what keeps us going.
Fear and Anxiety are the negative extreme. Wonder and adventure are the positive extreme. But much of life is lived in the middle. The middle and center of life is work, and faith.
The One Who calls is Faithful
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
(II Thessalonians 5:23-4)
Someone’s Calling: TODAY
We have journeyed through Lent.
We have arrived at Holy Week.
Our God speaks to us today through the events that we remember, and are about to remember. These events are shocking, were unexpected in their day, contrasted the way of the world. And yet they also brought resurrection from the dead, the answer to the problem of sin and death and the devil.
Someone is calling: That someone is God. God calls us to have faith. And faith works.