Our daily Bible reading schedule carries us to Mark 1. Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll be reading The Gospel of Mark together. For today, take a moment to reflect on the straightforward first verse:
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Mark wastes no time introducing his subject and aim for his readers. What we’re about to encounter in his gospel is good news about Jesus. The aim of this news is that readers then and now, near and far would come to believe in Jesus, not only as the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews, but as the very Son of God himself.
That’s an incredible claim. Is it true? If it is, there are most certainly implications that stretch around the world and across the centuries, all the way to where we sit today. So why should we believe it? What evidence is there for Jesus as “Christ, the Son of God”? Mark is glad we asked and he immediately gets to work:
- John, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s 700-year-old prophecy, bore witness of Jesus’ arrival (1:2-8)
- The heavens were torn open at Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit descended on him like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (1:9-11)
- Jesus taught as one who had authority, and not as a scribe (1:22)
- He commanded the unclean spirits, and they obeyed him (1:23-28)
- He healed many who were sick with various diseases, including leprosy (1:29-45)
Mark wastes no time in offering proof for the remarkable claim in his introduction, and he is not shy about making the implications crystal clear. Jesus’ first recorded words in Mark’s memoir? “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (1:15). His next recorded words? “Follow me” (1:17). Mark has introduced his subject, unashamedly revealed his subject’s true identity, and immediately helped us connect the dots as to what it all means (and demands). If Jesus is “Christ, the Son of God”…
- God has walked among us in the flesh with a message. “The time is fulfilled.”
- This miracle-working Anointed One has authoritatively announced the most important arrival in the history of the world. “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
- As God’s own beloved Son, Jesus has every right to issue a straightforward directive to each and every one of us. “Repent and believe in the gospel.”
The proof is readily available. The testimony has been provided. The implications continue to echo across space and time. “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” His gracious invitation continues to be extended every time a good and honest heart comes in contact with Mark 1. “Follow me.”
If he is “Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” why wouldn’t we?