Mark opens his book with these words: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Historical evidence tells us that the early church understood that the sixteen chapters that follow were a record of Peter’s preaching and that Mark was a translator for Peter. God used these Galileans to announce outstanding truths about the Man who would overturn unbelief, sin, and death.
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, just as Isaiah and Malachi had promised. He told his hearers to confess their transgressions and turn from their evil ways that they might receive forgiveness from the Almighty. This unusual prophet knew that Jesus of Nazareth was superior to him in His being and power. As he said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
After a time of testing in the wilderness, our Lord began His message with these words with divine certainty: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus displayed great authority in calling His followers and in teaching and healing. The lives of Peter, Andrew, James, and John were entirely redirected by the Lord. “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Crowds drew near Jesus as His “fame spread” because of the marvelous works He was performing. “Unclean spirits” knew of His glory and He silenced them. Though He told a cleansed leper, “See that you say nothing to anyone,” how could the man not talk about the blessings that he had received? The truths that form the foundation of our faith are so good that we must “spread the news.” Christ who was baptized in association with sinners, defeated the devil and his demons, rose early in the morning to pray, and healed people so that they might have the joy of serving Him is the “beloved Son” of the Father. Today is a very good day to “talk freely” about the best news of all recorded history.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for the gospel of Your Son. You prepared His way through the prophets of old and the ministry of John the Baptist. We are not worthy to be the lowest servants of our King, with whom You are well pleased. We honor You as we see Your power in calling disciples into the church. We leave our worries and fears behind and follow You. Teach us from the Scriptures with all authority. You have victory over all foes, seen and unseen. You touch the dying woman, and she rises up to serve. You heal crowds of sick people and cast out demonic hosts. You have prayed faithfully and preached mightily throughout the world using Your humble messengers. Make us clean today, and cause us to give careful attention to Your holy commandments.