The Beginning of the Good News
Mark 1: 1-8
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as 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 wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, 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 comes the one more powerful than I, the straps 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.”
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Beginning of Creation)
In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God. (Beginning of Gospel of John)
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Anointed One, the Son of God. (The Beginning of the first Gospel historically recorded)
The Book of Genesis and the Gospels are Books of beginnings.
They are beginnings that relate to us information that is to impact all who recognize them for what they are. The following information establishes what is most basic and fundamental for living in God’s world in a manner that pleases Him.
If you read through to the end of Mark’s gospel, you might wonder how in the world this is to be seen as good news! The word gospel literally means good news. Euangellion: From which we get the word evangelist. Evangel means herald.
Mark says that this is the beginning of the good news. What does he mean?
- The Beginning of the Good News
- The beginning of Jesus’ Ministry
This is not the beginning of Jesus’ life. We have very little information about Jesus’ early life. Don’t let that bother you, we really don’t have all that much information about Jesus’ adult life either. What we do have a lot of information about is the last week of Jesus’ life. Let that sink in for a minute. What do you really need to understand about the ministry of Jesus for others?
- The beginning of a new covenant
Covenant means testament. The New Testament means New Covenant.
A covenant is an agreement between two parties.
God and Adam
God and Noah
God and Moses/ the Nation of Israel
God and Jesus/ all who believe and follow Him.
God gives instructions, gives promises of blessing or cursing. God initiates it all and is the greater party.
Adam expresses the basic covenant
Noah expresses the basic covenant with all people/Gentiles
Abraham expresses God’s covenant with His chosen people out of all the other peoples.
Moses expresses God’s covenant in a way that calls people to a higher standard of identity, purpose and service to God.
Jesus fulfills all covenants and brings all people together in His service to God, like Noah brought people into the ark.
Jeremiah 31: 31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Know God personally.
Have a renewed conscience and the present Word of God.
Have personal wickedness and sin forgiven.
- The beginning of what is meant to continue on
The ministry of Jesus is meant to extend to all. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance. This is the beginning of what has extended to you if you are believing and following Jesus Christ!
In Jesus’ public ministry, there is a beginning and that beginning starts with His cousin, who just happens to be a great prophet of the Old Covenant! There is a transition from John to Jesus expressed beautifully in the beginning of the book of
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
(The reason angels are brought up is because of their role in revelation from God.)
- John the Baptist Comes Before Jesus
It was important for a couple of reasons that John preceded Jesus.
One is that John’s very presence is a sign that the One Anointed by God has come.
The second is that John’s ministry acts as a preparation so people will be ready to receive and follow God’s Anointed One.
- He is the prophetic voice of preparation
He is not listened to.
The rejection of Jesus is also rejection of John.
Although John does not understand Jesus’ ministry! He is thought to be crazy by the religious leaders. He is killed by the political leaders. And it is the fact that many people believe he is a prophet that gets him into trouble. It is the actual effectiveness of his ministry that draws the attention of the political leadership to him. When he speaks prophetically about them, they kill him. (Beast) This is a theme for the Old and New Testament prophets/Apostles!
- His message is repentance as preparation
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Also Jesus’ message!)
There is a possibility for God working in a new way in our lives. (The kingdom of God is the rule of God in our lives.)
This hope of new life produces in us the willingness for repentance. To repent means to turn. We turn away and we turn toward. Both are necessary elements in repentance. We have to get this right in order to experience God’s kingdom. We turn from whatever it is that we are pursuing to make our lives meaningful and good, and we turn toward the rule of God in our lives, (His kingdom). Repentance is meant to be an embraced and ongoing process in our lives.
Confession is a necessary part of repentance. We must agree about sin, which is confession, and then we must turn from sin to Christ, which is repentance.
- His method is repentance, baptism and the Holy Spirit
John called people to repentance. This is not described in this passage in Mark, but is in Luke’s gospel chapter 3: What does repentance look like?
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
This repentance does not seem extravagant, but rather, is about being just in our actions toward others and not taking advantage of those who are in a weaker position.
This repentance has a purpose and it is forgiveness. This is a radical idea that only makes sense in the light of the sacrifice of Jesus for our forgiveness.
Ok, so John comes before Jesus. What comes after Jesus? Certainly, this writing does. And so does our pursuit of understanding it!
III. We Come After Jesus
Does Jesus Ministry Extend to You?
- Do you evidence repentance
Is your life changing because you are taking the Word of God seriously?
Do you assume that you are always right?
Do you look beyond your actions and take responsibility for your attitudes and desires?
Do you fight your battles on the inside?
Do you practice spiritual disciplines?
Do you fast?
Do you pray?
Do you study?
Do you serve?
Do you sacrifice?
Do you give your time and money to God and to others?
Do you exercise?
- Have you been Baptized
Cleansing on the outside, led by the Spirit on the inside.
Thought and action.
Purpose and direction.
Identity and new cooperation (church)
- Do you follow the Holy Spirit
Are we witnesses? Good news sharers! Do we help others follow Christ? We can have spiritual conversations. We can invite people to church. We can talk about how Jesus has changed our lives. We can pray for others to believe. We can pray for others to enter into the harvest. But to me the biggest issue today is the lack of repentance and holiness. The world needs our good works so that it might see what it is called to!