Wednesday 13 November 2013

Mark 1:1-20 - Making a start

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Here we are at the start of Mark's gospel, we'll begin with the first twenty verses, Mark 1:1-20.

Mark's opening is a quote from Isaiah 40:3 which he then explains as foretelling the coming and work of John the Baptist. John was clearly very popular and attracted large crowds. But he himself states clearly that he has come to prepare the way for someone much greater. And that is Jesus the Messiah who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus came to John for water baptism and right away he was identified as the Son by a voice from heaven and went out into the wilderness to be tempted by the evil one.

John the Baptist was imprisoned, but Jesus headed for Galilee and began proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of heaven. And he called his first followers, four fishermen on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Mark packs all of this into just a few verses; he's keen to get started on the events of Jesus life. But already there are useful things to notice.

He is predestined and foretold and he arrives at the right time. We are like him in this; the Bible says that we were chosen before the foundation of the world. Father has spoken life into us and we each have a unique spiritual life to live. We are called and chosen to glorify the Father and the Son. We are here for a reason.

Jesus was baptised and received the Holy Spirit in a visible way and the Father spoke and said that he was pleased with him. Again, this is true for us too. When we believe we should be baptised and we also receive the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide and counsellor. And, in Christ, the Father is also pleased with us. It's not that we have any righteousness in ourselves, but we are covered in Christ's righteousness. We have the Father's love and affection, not because we have earned it but because he has chosen to give it. It's not about what we have done for him, it's all about his nature.

Jesus is in the wilderness for a long time and is tempted and resists. We are like him in this too. Sometimes life seems like a wilderness experience and we need to be patient and persevering. We will be tempted, and we need to learn that, when we resist, the evil one will run from us.

And what does Jesus do next? He proclaims the good news of the kingdom and makes disciples. Once again, we should do exactly the same things. It is what he commands us to do. It's what we were made to do.

Are you living a life that imitates or follows the pattern set by Jesus? By the end of the twentieth verse of Mark, Jesus has already demonstrated how we should live! [Tweet it!]

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