Mark 1:1-8: Mightier
April 1, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Mark’s Gospel begins with a bang, not a whimper, and carries on at a fast pace through all of its pages. This gospel that is announced comes immediately with power and great energy. We can almost feel the passion of the apostle Peter preaching as we read. Do we have that sense of urgency? Does the “beginning” of the gospel get us up each morning with a mission and a zeal to go about preaching that gospel to others—and living it ourselves?
The quotation is from Malachi as well as Isaiah. This is not because Mark does not know what he is doing. We can be sure he knew the Scriptures better than most of us. No, he follows the custom of either quoting the more famous prophet as the citation for both, or as the interpretation of the more obscure—as sometimes today we might refer to the Billy Graham tours, knowing full well that George Beverly Shea and others also were prominent; or the D.L. Moody’s campaigns knowing that Ira Sankey was very much involved.
John’s ministry was preparatory. He was getting the people ready to receive the Lord. There is no preparation for a new work of God like repentance. The doctrine of repentance, the message of repentance, is it the missing ingredient of the Christian church today? We are told to believe—but how often are we told to repent? Yet repentance and faith go together like two sides of the same coin, for the one who truly believes in Jesus finds that they repent of any other Master but him, and John’s prophetic message urges us to leave aside our sin and follow Jesus.
John’s clothing was not just idiosyncratic; it was a deliberate echo of Elijah-like desert garments. He was deliberately saying that the silence of the Word of God—such a scandal for the Old Testament people of God who had a hunger for God’s Word; without vision the people perish—had now ceased. God was speaking; surely his people would hear! Surely they would believe! Surely they would repent! Let us be grateful that we have Bibles in our language today. Many godly men and women have given their lives that we might read the Bible in English. There is the Word before us. Let us read it, believe it, and follow it. John’s message is to be typical of all preachers. He points to Jesus. See John now, one hand denying all praise and acclamation of himself, and another hand pointing onward to the One who is to come. Such is the task of the preacher. Such is the task of all Christians. We are to point people to Jesus. It is he who comes to baptize with the Holy Spirit. It is he who can give the renewal, the regeneration, the new life that we need today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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