Mark 1: 1-8
When I have people come to me and tell me that they want to learn what the Bible is about…a lot of the time they will ask me, “Where should I start? Where should I start reading at?”
- Well, this is where I tell them to start…with the gospel of Mark.
- And there are a couple of reasons why I tell them that.
One, this book is fast moving…full of action.
- Mark moves from one event to another
- He says, “this happened…and then this happened…and then this happened!”
- There are 19 miracles found in Mark, only 4 parables, and no long discourses.
- 40 times Mark uses the word “immediately” and 2 out of 3 sentences start with “And.”
- Mark’s account is constantly moving…
- And so, it seems to hold people’s attention more.
Another reason I tell people to start reading here in Mark is because this book is pretty easy to understand.
- That is not to say that it doesn’t have its difficult parts…but over all, when you read it you can pretty well tell what is going on.
But the primary reason I tell people to start reading their Bible here in Mark is because of what Mark says in verse 1: “The beginning of the gospel or “good news” of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”
- This is “good news”…not bad news but “good news.”
- And look who it is “good news” of: “Jesus Christ the Son of God.”
I have had people tell me that they started reading in Genesis chapter 1…and they do real good until they get to chapter 3…and then chapter 4…and then they get into the Geneologies…”so and so begat so and so.”
- And they get bogged down…and the next thing you know, they give up.
And then I have had people tell me that they started in Matthew…and you know how Matthew starts: “So and so begat so and so…and so and so begat so and so.”
- And that doesn’t work so well for them either.
But Mark isn’t that way.
- Mark is action packed…one event after another…
- It is “good news” and maybe the best thing of all is it starts where people really need to start and that is with Jesus Christ the Son of God…and tells His whole story.
This is “good news” and when you read and study this book you need to look for the “good news” and that is what we are going to do this morning.
- This morning, I want to show you some “good news” about “Jesus Christ the Son of God” that I hope will encourage you and reassure you…in spite of all the bad news that surrounds us.
Let’s begin again in verse 1. Mark says: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”
- Now, do you see that name “Jesus Christ”?
- Don’t ever confuse “Jesus” as simply being His first name…and “Christ” as simply being His last name. Some people do that.
- There is a lot more to this name than that.
Jesus’ name is not accidental…it was not a name that Joseph and Mary randomly selected.
- Over in Matthew chapter 1 when it came time for Jesus to be born, God spoke to Joseph and told him, “Mary is going to have a baby and “You will…you will call Him Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”
- You see, when Mark talks about “Jesus” he is talking about “Savior.” \
Jesus also speaks of His human name.
- It reminds us that He is man.
- 1 Timothy 2:5 says He is “still a man.” He has not put off His human memories and experiences which means He can still sympathize with our weaknesses…and thus He extends His mercy to us…and anytime you don’t get what you deserve…that is “good news.”
- So, Mark calls Him Jesus…He is the Savior and He is man…
And then Mark calls Him, “Christ”, “Christ” means Messiah…the anointed One…the One sent from God.
- So, when Mark says He is Jesus Christ…He is saying that He is the “Savior sent from God.”
- He is the One that God has sent to “save His people from their sins.”
- And when you can be saved from your sins….when you can be saved from the condemnation of your sins…when you can be delivered from hell…and go to heaven…that is “good news!”
And then Mark calls Him “the Son of God” and that is significant for many reasons but let me tell you what is such “good news” about it.
- The fact that Jesus Christ…the Savior sent from God…is the Son of God tells me that He has the ability to do the same things that God can do.
- And one of the things that God can do…and only God can do…is forgive our sins…and that is “good news.”
But wait a minute!
- Just because Mark says Jesus is the Son of God doesn’t make it true.
- Mark was a friend and companion of the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul. He was relative of Barnabas!
- You would expect him to say this…but just because he does doesn’t make it true.
- Besides, we have people today who claim that their man is a prophet of God…and others who claim that their man is…
- People make all kinds of claims but that doesn’t make it true!
- How do we know that what Mark has said here is true?
Well, look at what Mark does. Look at what he says in verse 2. Mark writes:
“As it is written in Isaiah, the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your Face, Who will prepare your way; “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His Paths straight.’”
Do you know what Mark has done here?
- These two quotations are from the prophets Isaiah and Malachi and what Mark is basically saying here is, “If you don’t want to believe me…if you think I am just making this up, will you believe the prophet Malachi and the prophet Isaiah?
- “700 years before, God through Malachi and Isaiah, said that this was going to happen…He spoke of the One who was to come…if you are skeptical of me…will you believe Isaiah?”
Mark gives us extra confirmation that what he has just said about Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- And that is “good news” to me because that reassures me that my faith is not misplaced!
- You see, we live in a world where Satan is constantly using his influence to get people to attack our faith.
- And they are constantly coming up with accusations about Christ…and they are saying, “He is a myth…He is a liar…He is a fake….or He is this and He is that.”
- And every time those kinds of attacks come up I have a tendency to think, “Could they be true? Have I put my faith in the wrong place? Am I foolishly wasting my time in trying to be a Christian?”
- And when I read something like this…where two of God’s prophets…700 years before said that He was coming…that is “good news” because it reassures me that I haven’t misplaced my faith…my faith is not in vain.
But there is something more. Look at verse 2 again.
- Mark quotes from Malachi and Isaiah in reference to Christ but I want you to notice something.
- Notice that the verse speaks of “preparing the way…making ready the way of the Lord, making His paths straight.”
- Listen, you don’t “prepare the way” for someone who isn’t important!
In fact, these verses not only say that Jesus is important…they say that Jesus is King because this is something you did for kings.
- Remember in 2 Samuel 15: 1 when Absalom decides it is time to take the kingdom away from his father.
- To show people that he was now the new king he gets a chariot, some horses, and 50 men to run out in front of him everywhere he goes.
- Do you know what those 50 men were for?
- They were to run out in front of Absalom and make sure everything was ready…that the way was clear and secure…and to tell people “the King is coming.”
- See they prepared the way for the KING.
We do a similar thing today.
- Think about the work that the secret service has to do to protect the President.
- When the president visits any town or city, his people come in first to prepare the way.
- They will come in weeks…sometimes months ahead of time.
- And they will study the streets…the manholes…how high the curbs are…the intersections…how fast you can travel on those streets.
- Are there any curves where the motorcade will have to slow down to an unacceptable speed?
- They will examine the country side…how close the crowd can get…they will check out buildings…the windows…the rooftops…
- They will go over everything…preparing the way of the President.
- And then when He does come there will be motorcycle policemen….and police cars…all with their lights flashing.
- Now, you don’t do those kinds of things when Virgil Webb….or some other plain citizen is coming.
- You only prepare the way for someone who is important.
- You do that for a king or a president.
And that is Mark’s point here.
- This Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is someone very, very important!
- He is KING!
- And once again, that is “good news” because that tells me that I have not submitted my life…that I have not bowed my will to the wrong one!
But now the prophet Malachi and Isaiah are not the only prophets who speak of the majesty of Christ. Look at verse 2.
- In verse 2, God through Malachi and Isaiah says that He planned someone to prepare the way for Christ…and look in verse 4 at who it is: John the Baptist.
Listen, John the Baptist was no accident!
- In the book of Luke, John is born of extraordinary circumstances…and do you know what God said about Him?
- In Luke 1: 15 God said that John would be “great in the sight of the Lord.”
- Now God doesn’t say that about too many men.
But now, look at what this “great man” John says about Christ. Look at verse 7:
And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I…
As “great” as John was…as influential as John was…as impressive as John was…he says that “One is coming who is mightier than he is.”
- Listen, John was part of God’s plan…and John was the one that God chose to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sin.
- And hundreds and hundreds of people came out to see John…
- But as mighty as John was, he himself says, “I cannot even compare to the One who is coming.
In fact, look at what he says next: “and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.”
- In this day and time, not even the lowliest slave was required to untie his master’s sandals.
- He might have to wash His master’s feet…but not untie his sandals.
- Not even the lowliest of the low had to do that.
- And what John the Baptist is saying here is, “When you compare me to the One who is coming…I am lower than the lowest of all slaves. I am not fit to even untie His sandals.”
- As great as John was…He could not compare to the greatness of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
And once again, that is “good news” to me because what it tells me is, as great as some men are…as impressive as some men are…they cannot compare to Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- And once again I am assured that I have not misplaced my trust and faith.
And look at verse 8 at what else John says. He says: “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
- Anyone can baptize with water.
- But baptism by the Holy Spirit is a direct act of God…and if Jesus is going to baptize with the Holy Spirit what does that say about who He is?
- It says He is God!
And, that is “good news” because once again, I know that I have not misplaced by faith…
- I know that I have not bowed my will to the wrong one.
- And I know that He is able to do what God can do…and that means He can forgive my sins…and He can save me forever!
In a world so full of bad news…this reassures me…this comforts me…this gives me strength…this gives me hope…this is “good news!”
Brethren…hold on to this “good news” of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- No matter what may come up…no matter what may befall you…no matter what you may already be enduring…you hold on to this “good news” of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- He is Jesus…Savior.
- He is Christ…the Messiah…the One sent from God.
- And He is the Son of God.
- Bad things happen in life…and they often cause us to suffer…some times in horrible ways.
- But even if the things that come up in life…take our life away from us…
- God has sent One who will save us…even if we die.
- And I know He can because…after all…He is the Son of God.
To those of you who have not acknowledged Jesus as Savior…or as the Messiah…or as the Son of God…the news for you is not so good.
- You see, He is savior…and He is the One sent from God to save us…and He is the Son of God…
- But unless you believe that…and come to Him…and obey Him…you render Him unable to help you….because He cannot help someone who refuses to believe that He can.
Jesus Christ the Son of God is “good news.” Will you be “good news” today by letting Him save you? If so, won’t you come while we stand and sing.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023