John the Baptist prepares the way

This is written by Matt Coombs. He is married to Pip and is on the leadership team at St Mary's with responsibility for all things pastoral, small groups and students.

Mark 1:1-13

John the Baptist prepares the way
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 baptised by him in the River Jordan. 6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt round 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 baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.'

The baptism and testing of Jesus
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. 10 Just 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 wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Reflection

And so the book (app) is opened and the story begins.

In the ancient world it was normal practice to summarise the entire book in the opening line or paragraph. So Mark 1:1 is like a key to unlock his whole book.

"The beginning
of the good news about Jesus
the Messiah, the
Son of God."
 
The beginning points us to Genesis 1:1. The opening phrase of the Bible, in the original language, it's actually the exact same phrase. Mark, right from the start, is saying, this story has the power of creation.
In Jesus, a new world is coming to birth.
 
The Messiah literally means "anointed one." It was used throughout the Old Testament for a coming king who was going to put the world to rights, put a stop to evil and injustice, and usher in an age of peace.

The whole story from Genesis to Malachi is fulfilled in Jesus - the Messiah.
 
Son of God is also used a little bit in the Old Testament, but in Mark's day, it was more commonly associated with the Caesars. A typical Roman coin would have Caesar's face on one side, and the Latin inscription divius filius on the other, meaning "son of god." Caesar claimed to be the mediator between the gods and humanity. He was called "saviour" and "lord," because he brought "peace" and "salvation." Sound familiar?

Jesus is the Son of God the true bridge between heaven and Earth bringing God and humanity together.

With all the expectation of the centuries behind him, John the messenger proclaims Jesus the promised One. The Messiah, the Son of God, from creation to eternity is here to put the world to rights. This new year, where do you need Jesus to bring his new creation, a new beginning into your heart and life?

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