All About Jesus
Loving Father, You bring sight to the blind and good news to the poor. Bring me a word from Your Word today.
Read Mark 1:1-8
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Our faith is not good views but good news. It is not a philosophy but a fact; not an argument but an announcement: not a problem but a proclamation” (Roy C. Putnam).
From first to last this passage is about Jesus. We are told who Jesus is (1) and what Jesus will do (8). Although when the curtain goes up the only actor on the stage is John, he appears here only as a witness. First he is identified as the promised forerunner (2), but the forerunner goes before the face of God himself. (Mal. 3:1). If John is that forerunner, then Jesus is no mere prophet but the Son of God and his personal representative. Then John tells us that Jesus will usher in a new experience of the Spirit, which Mark’s readers know to be their new life in Christ, in comparison to which John’s own ministry can be seen as merely preparatory (7,8).
Baptizing with the Holy Spirit is not mentioned here as merely one of many things Jesus will do. It is chosen by Mark from all that John the Baptist said about Jesus as a summary statement that embraces all the benefits he has won for us. Jesus came to bring us into a new relationship with God, knowing God as our Father and knowing ourselves to be his children. (Gal. 4:6,7).
It includes both the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life, and for this to be possible Jesus will have to die and be raised to life. Before the story proper begins, Mark tells us that this was the ultimate purpose of Jesus’ living and dying.
Like John, evangelists and pastors today perform a task that is ancillary and preparatory to this ministry of Jesus. Word and sacrament do not bestow the Spirit, but they work to bring people to a new mind, which is what repentance means (4), and so prepare the way for Jesus to pour out the Holy Spirit into our lives.
Pray that God will give us evangelists, pastors and teachers who will discharge their ministry with humility and urgency. Pray for your pastor.
Lord, thank You for my pastor and those who serve in my church. Bless all congregations with shepherds who discharge their duties well.