As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17
A number of years ago three military recruiters showed up at a high school for Career Day to share with the students all the advantages to making the military part of their future. The time allotted to the three men, one from the Army, one from the Navy, and one from the Marines, was 45 minutes. Each was supposed to have 15 minutes to make their case. I say “supposed to have” because the Army and Navy men got carried away. Both used more than their 15 minutes, thereby cutting considerably into the time allotted for the Marine recruiter’s presentation. As he approached the microphone, the principal leaned forward and told him, “You only have two minutes.”
The Marine nodded and began his presentation. This is what he said: “It is my opinion, having looked over the students in this school, that there are maybe two or three of you who could make it in the Marine Corps. If you think you are one of them, I want to see you in the hallway after this meeting.” With that, he did a sharp turn and sat down in his chair, ramrod straight. Need I tell you that the Marine was mobbed in the hallway by a mass of students who thought they were among the elite who could cut it in the Marines.
There was a time in His life when Jesus was surrounded by people who wanted to follow Him; most of them for the wrong reasons. Some wished to follow Him because they thought He could cure their illnesses. He could, but that was not the reason to follow Him. Others followed Him because they believed He could continuously feed them with a few loaves and fishes. He could do that, too, but that was not why He had come.
Jesus was born to save sinners. To make our salvation reality, the Savior took our place under the Law, carried our sins and without complaint died the death that was ours. Now through Word and Sacrament He sends His Holy Spirit to call people to follow Him. When the apostles were asked, “What should we do to be saved?” they gave the Lord’s recruitment speech: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on November 2, 2003
The Prayer: Dear Lord, open my ears that I may hear your call just as the teenagers heard the Marine speakers' invitation. Recruit me into your Kingdom to go forth and reclaim the souls of mankind, so they may come to know You as Lord. I am your soldier, Lord; use me as you will. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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