CHAPTER 1: THE GOSPEL
Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Such Good News!
For many years, God seemed all but silent to His people. Yet, they had the Scriptures and its transition passed down from their fathers. The arrival of David’s Son promised in the Scriptures was anticipated as He was the Anointed One (Christ) from God. He was a champion king that would again lead them to rise like a high mountain above all other nations, especially Rome, which at that time ruled over them and oppressed the whole known world.
Mark tells us in the beginning (I don’t find that language coincidence) that the Good News they were awaiting had arrived by the voice if one crying in the wilderness, “prepare the way for the Lord, make His paths straight” (Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:3). This phrase means to be repentant and to open your heart that the Christ might come into His kingdom (His people) with the honor due to a true King. Humanity’s heart is the place from which Jesus Christ was always intended to rule. Thus, the need for turning from sin.
John the Baptist announced Christ’s arrival and entrance into the Kingdom by means of baptism in water (immersion). God would forgive sins confessed with a pledge of loyalty. Baptism is to die to self and rise to live for God. John says specifically One greater than he would follow to baptize with the Holy Spirit (1:8).
The unusual thing is that Jesus Himself was baptized, but without the normal human need to confess sin. The unique thing is a confession was indeed made that day: The confession as a human to live for God. Jesus of Nazareth did this in order to fulfill all righteousness. When He did, we read a voice came from heaven, “You are my one dear Son; in You I take great delight” (1:11).
Righteousness was fulfilled in Him being baptized not because He needs to turn from sin, but because He was without sin yet chose to (in human form) submit to His Father’s way.
Just as James 4:17 teaches us, “anyone who knows the good they ought do and fails to do it sins.” Jesus knew the good He should do and did it. He did not boast He was righteousness but behaved righteously. As it says in Philippians 2:6: “Who, being the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to use to His own advantage.”
Understand… without a sinless human in submission to Father God… our repentance has nothing to follow into the Father’s presence.
This is why the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus and drove Him immediately into temptation where the devil challenged and failed to reveal any lack in Jesus. He was indeed righteousness and through Him is forgiveness for us. That is the Good News and how it began.
Then Satan, through King Herod, sought to obstruct God. King Herod imprisoned John the Baptist who called him to repent for his marriage to his brother’s wife. However, God raised the voice of John’s ministry to repent as he was taken into custody. Jesus took that as His cue to move God’s plan forward and heighten the voice to repent adding, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand” (verse 15).
Note verse 15, “The time has come, The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
“time” = kairos = “favorable time or opportune time or significant time”
“Kingdom of God” = a present, spiritual kingdom; Christianity; Heaven in the future
“near” is also translated as “at hand” (KJV, RSV, NASB) and “has come near” (NRSV, HCSB, OJB)
What will happen during this significant time?
Jesus will reveal Himself as the Messiah/Christ
Prophecies from the Old Testament will be fulfilled
Promises of God will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ
Jesus will teach about God and His Kingdom
Jesus will call disciples to continue His work
Interestingly, Jesus did not hire a lawyer to get John out of prison due to the charges. Instead, He focused on proclaiming the Kingdom of God was at hand. By living a life of prayer and servitude, He taught with the intention and willingness to make us clean. After He spent hours in prayer, He taught the truth and cast out demons and their lies. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law and in general brought stability and order to people’s lives. This is all just chapter 1!
Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, is a human of unwavering righteousness. The GodMan… yes… but human nevertheless with kind hands full of forgiveness because Father God set His agenda. Jesus Christ carried the very Name of God. He knew the true means to salvation and always kept the Satan behind Him.
Note verse 25, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Jesus did face opposition and tests. It is through the test that God deals with and binds the devils. The adversaries of God have nothing on God and where the spirit of God is there is liberty. Those are scriptural words (2 Corinthians 3:17). Also, a parable found in Matthew 12:29 says, “For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.”
First comes the testing. Then comes the binding of evil. God works through the love of those that are faithful. Humanity is being tested worldwide as I write and comment on this passage. I must say, don’t be surprised when an outpouring of God’s Spirit is manifest in accordance with our response.
Jesus reflects on the Good News He is to share and in verse 38, Jesus wants to go and be about His Father’s business. Why does Jesus say He has come? He came to fulfill righteousness and to do the will of God the Father.
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 9:13 // Mark 2:17 // Luke 5:32 “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 10:34-36 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.‘”
Luke 12:49 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
John 5:43 “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept Me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.”
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 9:39 “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 12:46“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
Note Jesus’ words in verse 41: “I am willing, Be clean!”
How deep is our love? Does it match the depth of Christ’s love for those hurting around Him?
Unwavering faithfulness is what Jesus revealed and calls us to follow, which in our strength is impossible. But of course, He calls on His own disciples in whom He pours out His Spirit. Thus, it is by His Spirit that we together reflect the faithlessness of Christ’s living way. That is the lesson, He is. Therefore, faith in Him reveals the justification of His humanity.