There was a master craftsman who was on a journey. In his travels he came upon a pot in a city. This pot was filthy. Not only was it covered with dirt and other stains, but it was also being used as a chamber pot. Yet this master craftsman immediately recognized that it was no ordinary pot. Sure enough, upon examining it he discovered that this pot was made of precious metal, though it had been dented and abused terribly. It had undoubtedly once belonged in a king's palace. The craftsman inquired after the pot, and purchased it from its owners. He cleansed the pot with clean water, and he took it to his workshop. There he carefully removed the stains, hammered out the dents, and restored the pot to its original shape. He polished the metal - which was precious silver and gold - set it with jewels, and restored to it the great beauty and love by which it was first made. At last he brought it to his king and presented it as a gift. And the king accepted the gift with joy.
We know that our Lord Jesus is also a master craftsman. Not only did He learn this skill from His foster-father St. Joseph, but He is the Son of God through whom the Father made all things that exist. When He says, "Repent, and believe in the gospel," it is as if He is saying each of us is like this poor abused pot, but now since He is here we can be cleansed and restored and brought to the King, His Father and ours.
But unlike the pot in this story, we have a part to play. The craftsman in the story does not say anything to the pot - because it is just a pot - but the Lord Jesus says to us, "Repent, and believe in the gospel." To repent means that the mind of the world outside the Church can no longer be our mind. There must be a break, and there must be a willingness on our part to do the breaking as often as it must be done. We must gain the mind of Christ, and this can only happen if believe the gospel.
The gospel of the Lord Jesus must become our new mind, because it is His mind, and it is the beating-heart of the kingdom of God. So that means we should know the gospels in our Bible! Some of us are great with sports statistics and some with movie quotes, because these have touched our hearts and brought us joy. The gospels in our Bible are greater than those things, and what they contain will outlast the memory of every movie or sporting event there ever will be. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the words of Christ in the gospels will never pass away.
It is amazing that what St. Mark records next is how our Lord Christ calls His first Apostles. And who do you think He calls? He calls Simon, who is St. Peter, which is where St. Mark is traditionally believed to have gotten most of his knowledge for the gospel he wrote. Who else does Christ call? St. Andrew, St. James, and ... St. John, who himself wrote the fourth gospel. So you see that already in the beginning of our Lord's ministry on earth He was taking care to provide witnesses that would tell you everything, so that you - like them - might trade in the mind this spiritually-blind world gives you for the mind of Christ, so that you could believe the gospel and live in the gospel, so that you might be saved from this perverse and wicked generation.
And so this is how our Lord Jesus begins His ministry on earth as a teacher and prophet. He says to us all that we need new minds and hearts, and new deeds and lives, which He is happy to give us. But again, we are not lifeless pots; we are human beings made in the image of God. It is up to us whether we will undergo the scrubbing necessary to remove a worldly mindset, and the heat and pounding required to hammer out the dents that come from falling into sins. But how can we ever become polished and shining if we don't! Kings don't like garbage cans at their banquet tables, so out of love for our heavenly King we should each take care to place ourselves into the hands of our master craftsman, our Lord Jesus, and be recast according to the mold of His gospel. Let us become vessels of love and generosity and goodness while we are in this world, because in the next world there will be no garbage cans at the King's banquet table, but only those made beautiful by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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