“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” ~ C.S. Lewis
My prayer: we never consider what we have ‘IN CHRIST’ as moderately important.
The Purpose of this Book: Answer the question, Who Is Jesus of Nazareth?
- It is the least Jewish of the four gospels.
- It uses the most latin words, phrases and idioms of all the gospels
Roman culture valued productivity & action (Christ constantly depicted as ‘Doing’). Quick shifts of action, condensed narratives / shortest of 4 gospels. The Servant Messiah is how Jesus is often depicted, a man of action and purpose. Believed to be the most translated book of the New Testament.
Written in Rome, under Peter’s supervision. First of the four ‘Scriptural Gospels’ written and circulated. Peter’s Influence (Apostolic Authorship of New Testament Scripture). Mark’s Gospel given authority that flows from Peter, not Mark. Just like Luke’s authority flows from Paul.
Fun facts about Mark or John Mark:
The early Church met in Mark’s mother’s house (Acts 12:12). He loses his shirt getting away as Jesus is being arrested (Mark 14:51-52). He is also the guy that Paul kicks off his missionary team (Acts 15:37-39)
Mark 1:1-13 (NASB 1995)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
- The start of the God Breathed proclamation of the Good News [define it]
- The news is about Jesus [man] Christ [Messiah]
- The news is about THE Son of God [God Himself]
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way; The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.’”
- Malachi 3:1 is the set up for the quotation of Isiah 40:3
- The Messiah was going to have a forerunner, one who would set the stage
- Making ‘His paths straight’ involved the preparing of peoples hearts for God
- What prepares our hearts for the reality of Jesus Christ is repentance
- In one sense the beginning of the Gospel’s POWER is repentance
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
- The prophecy in the Scripture: Wild guy preaching repentance
- The messenger preparing the way: John The Baptist
- The Gospel brings forgiveness [We NEED it] it begins with repentance
5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
- God was moving people to repent…God moves, we respond…
- Ritual cleansing representing the cleansing power of confession / repentance
- It is believed John was doing it for months, not just a quick fad
- The Jordan River had special connotations for God’s people [Doorway]
6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.
- Serious wilderness lifestyle / The voice is ‘IN’ the wilderness [not camping]
- John is totally opposite the whole Temple system and it’s pretense
7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
- John draws a clear line between himself and Jesus The Christ
- The lowliest of servants did the ‘foot work’… why Jesus washed disciples feet
- Johns baptism was a natural representation of the supernatural act to come
- We now baptize as a representation a supernatural act that has taken place
- Biblical Baptism is: repentance, obedience, witness and oath
- When properly approached, God uses baptism… but not to impart salvation
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I Am well-pleased.”
- While John was doing his thing @ The Jordan…
- Matthew 3:14-15: When Jesus comes to be baptized John tried to stop Him…
But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.
- John acquiesces, and baptizes Jesus of Nazareth
- He was in the water and came up out of it…[biblical baptism is immersion]
- The descending Spirit confirms here at the beginning, that He is God Himself
- Jesus is identified as the Messiah, the only one who could be God’s Son
12 Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
- Right after this baptism…BAM! Into the wilderness [fast paced action]
- Theologically speaking He enters a new phase of the Incarnation
- You could say He is ‘Missionized’…More connected & directed via ‘The Spirit’
- The beginning of this phase known as ‘Christ’s Public Ministry’ is ‘Temptation’
- To prepare for the mission ahead, He trains for what is to come @ the Cross
- Without human contact, only supernatural supplies [Angels Ministering]
This book begins the New Testament record regarding the incarnation / coming of the foretold Messiah of Hebrew Scriptures. He is defined as the person Jesus of nazareth, who is the Anointed One, God Himself.
There is an established connection between the Hebrew Scriptures and this Good New about the Incarnated Son of God. His forerunner was predicted just as He was.
John The Baptist [Jesus’ Cousin] performed the function of enabling people to receive what God was about to do. By intentionally confessing sin and repenting of it without pretense, people open up to the reality that God wants to reconcile us to Him
Jesus was baptized to begin His public ministry as an example of obedience for us. He demonstrated God favor in baptism, so do we! It declares God given salvation by an earthly reenactment of a previous supernatural act [Salvation / The indwelling of God’s Spirt].
To begin the next stage of His Incarnation, Jesus The Christ is obedient to be tempted and in His perfection He demonstrates His divinity to Satan by supernatural means.
What about your day to day life says you are convinced Jesus is God Himself? Does your lifestyle say this Christianity thing is moderately important?
What role does the Old Testament Scriptures play in your relationship with Jesus?
Why is it important to follow scripture regarding things like baptism?
What might you do today to supernaturally prepare for a life of eternal meaning?