God’s Word for November 14

Good evening! Our reading for Tuesday was Mark 1:1-14
The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  
2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'”



4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”



9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”



12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

NIV



Mark does not mix words. His purpose is to simply lay down the facts as he knows them. No fluff! In beginning to lay out the basic gospel concerning Jesus he already provides his opinion of who Jesus is – the Christ, a word denoting the One promised in the Old Testament appointed by God as God’s particular representative who will be the Savior of his people. Jesus was not a prophet, not an inspired preacher or teacher- No! Jesus is the Christ!



Next Mark explains there is a prophecy in Isaiah foretelling of a messenger to precede the coming of the Christ. It is the opinion of Mark that this messenger is John, known as the Baptist because he preached and baptized those who would respond to his call to repentance. Mark does not provide any defense for his conclusion except for the description of the austerity of how John lived. His pattern was indicative of a how prophets of the Old Testament often lived. There had not been an acknowledged prophet in Israel for over 500 years and Mark described John as fitting the bill.



Mark next leads into the arrival of Jesus on the scene as an adult. There is no birth narrative that we find in Matthew and Luke’s account – Jesus just shows up out of nowhere onto the scene. Because of the timing of Jesus’ arrival and the preaching of John, Mark states that John acknowledged Jesus to be the one the Old Testament prophet’s and he foretold would come.



Simple and clear – the prophets foretold of a messiah, John was the latest prophet who confirmed it was Jesus who fulfilled them – these are the matters of importance to Mark. The only evidence we will be given will be Jesus’ teaching and demonstration of divine power which is the witness of his followers. People could argue the veracity of a virgin birth, but the simple fact is the people Mark was writing to knew of the Baptist, knew of the promises of a messiah and will know what Jesus did. They must, as we must decide, who Jesus will be to us.



If we did not have Christmas and its beautiful story – if all we had was the witness of what historically we can know, would that be enough to convince us of whom Jesus is. The authority of his teaching; the testimony of his miraculous powers from both religious and secular sources; and the fact of his missing body supporting the claim of resurrection – these are the evidence. We love the heart felt story of the birth of Jesus. Mark has us focus on the evidence from Jesus’ ministry.  I am certainly glad we have the tree, the story, and the trappings of Christmas, but even should we not have Christmas as we know it today, Jesus would still be the Savior and Lord of heaven and earth. Let us not lose sight of this fact as we celebrate this wonderful season.



Blessings!  Brian Homan, pastor
Liverpool First UM Church