Mark’s Gospel has an opening line which is designed to grab the attention of his readers. The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1) This is Mark’s summary of all that is to follow.
One of Mark’s key words is immediately and this appears many times in his book (eg Mark 1:42, Mark 5:29, Mark 5:42). So Mark’s writing has an urgency and pace through the whole story of Jesus. Even the few verses in our passage move quickly:
- So John appeared in the wilderness v4
- At that time Jesus came from Nazareth v9
- At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert vs12
The opening sentence in Mark’s prologue is loaded with Christological titles and divine credentials: Jesus, Messiah/Christ, Son of God, as prophesised by Isaiah. Scholars believe Mark was writing for Roman readers, so this is a very strong opening statement to make in Rome, the seat of power and government. Mark is convinced of who Jesus is and so does not hold back on this powerful description of divinity.
The gospel begins with Jesus. However, this sentence alone is not the beginning, but the whole Gospel of Mark is the introduction to the mighty work of God through the crucified and risen Jesus. It is the beginning of the redemptive act of God stepping into our world to save us by grace through faith in Jesus. Mark states it is gospel/good news. It is not only what Jesus has done that is good, but Jesus himself was and is good news.
The Gospel is about Jesus – a specific person in history.
- Jesus (Greek) or Joshua (Hebrew) means the Lord saves.
- Jesus is the Messiah, God’s anointed One the Christ.
- Jesus is God’s Son.
As we begin this New Year it is helpful for us to consider who Jesus is. Are we going to dedicate another year of our lives to following him? If so we need to be sure he is worth following. In Christ we have all we need for the year ahead to inspire us, sustain us and empower us so we can live as children of God and fulfil his will in our lives. So let us dedicate ourselves to following him in the year and decade ahead.
Rev John Malcolm