Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke's Lutheran Church
In the Gospel of Luke, the word "today" appears in 12 important places. "Today is born to you a Savior who is Christ the Lord," the angel said. Jesus said to the tax collector Zacchaeus, "Today, I will go to your house." To the repentant thief on the cross, Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." In a sermon, based on Isaiah 61, delivered at the beginning of his earthly ministry, Jesus said, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
Today! That one word caused a huge problem! That sermon caused Jesus to get thrown out of the synagogue, and nearly killed -- after what might well have been his first sermon.
Why all the commotion? That passage from Isaiah 61, which said "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me" was understood to be an announcement of the Messiah. The Messiah would come SOMEDAY. Not today -- SOMEDAY. When Jesus said the Messiah is here "today," he identified himself as the one sent from God. The people in his hometown couldn't deal with that. Someday is fine. But not today. Not you.
I read a story recently about a German painter who died before a painting was finished. The background was done, as were twelve apostles. But the very center of the painting was unfinished. By the rough sketch of the missing part, it's obvious that Jesus was to be in the center.
I'm often a "someday" type of person. Someday I'll do some serious decluttering. Someday, I'll reset that clock that's a bit off. Someday I'll lose that extra 30 pounds I put back on. Someday I'll write another song. Someday I'll write a letter to our companion church in Tanzania. Someday gets put off a lot in my life!
There is one clear place where "someday" just doesn't work -- putting Christ at the center. This is something we need to strive to do DAILY. Every single day. In the morning. At each meal. Before sleep. All day long. Christ Jesus needs to be at the center.
The German painter maybe didn't finish the painting, but he knew where Christ belonged in his life. So do I. So do you. Really, you DO.
Pray with me: Holy Spirit, as you anointed Jesus as Messiah, anoint me today, that my life would be centered in him, who is my Lord, my Life, my Love. Let me not forget him. Let me remember him whenever it is "today." Amen.