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12/17 – The Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1-20)

 

Introduction — Here Mark wastes no time in telling the focus of his writing: the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That Jesus is the center of the gospel is certain. He is the focal point of the gospel from start to finish. John directed people to Jesus. John prepared the way. John made the paths straight. He preached a baptism of repentance. He told people that “One is coming who is mightier than me,” and “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth into Galilee. John baptized Jesus then. When Jesus came up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening. He saw the Spirit descending upon Him. He heard a voice come out of the heavens, saying, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Immediately the Spirit directed Jesus into the wilderness.  Jesus was in the wilderness forty days. Satan tempted Him there. Jesus was with wild beasts there. Angels ministered to Him there. Then, after John’s arrest, Jesus came into Galilee. While there, Jesus preached the gospel of God. Jesus spoke, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” And while in Galilee, Jesus also called people to follow Him. Jesus preached the gospel. Jesus directed people to repent and believe in the gospel. Jesus called people to follow Him for the sake of the gospel. Many heard the gospel. Some believed the gospel. A few followed Him for the sake of the gospel. How about us? Do we hear the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we live unmoved and unchanged by the gospel? Do we ignore the gospel? Do we turn from the gospel? Or do we thrill to the gospel? Do we follow Jesus for the sake of the gospel? Do we preach the gospel? Do we live the gospel? Do we leave all for the gospel of Jesus Christ?

 

Jesus went with purpose to bring the gospel to people. Sent by the Father, it was go time for Him. And now, it’s go time for us. Jesus calls us to repent and believe the gospel. He calls us to follow Him the sake of the gospel. But we seem to be stuck in neutral. Will we follow Him?

 

Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

 

Preparing the Way for Christ (1-8)

 

Comment: In simple words, Mark tells who this gospel is about—Jesus. With an obvious connection to the creation story, Mark relates the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. After the brief introduction, Mark introduces John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for Christ. John was bold. John stirred hearts. John called people to repent. John reminded people how much they need God. John urged people to seek God. John urged people to seek God’s forgiveness. John prepared the way for Christ. John made the way clear to Christ. John pointed people to Christ. Question: Do we show boldness in pointing people to Christ? Do we make the way clear for people to know Christ or do we set up tripping hazards? Do we urge people to seek God? Do we urge people to turn to God? Do we point people to God through Christ? Application: Prepare the way for Christ. Make that way clear. Urge people to see God. Be bold, yet humble in pointing people to Christ. See your place in God’s story of salvation. Speak truth. Speak hope. Be direct. Be honest. Be ready. Never apologize for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Seeing the Glory of Christ (9-13)

 

Comment: In simple words, Mark gives a wondrous portrait of Christ. Here we see the glory of Christ. He is the beloved Son of God. He is the promised Messiah. He honors the Father. He obeys the Father. Jesus heeds the Spirit’s direction. Jesus, though tempted, chooses obedience rather than compromise. Jesus, though tempted, does not yield to sin. Jesus is worthy. Jesus is mighty. That the gospel reveals the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6) is evident here. To see the glory of the Son is to see the glory of the Father. Here we see the love and power and victory of God on full display. Why? Here we see Jesus. Here we see beauty. Here we see majesty. Here we see glory. Question: Do we see the glory of Christ here? Do we marvel at who He is? Do we pause to consider His greatness? Do we stop to think about His love and power and victory? Do we slow down to behold His grandeur? Application: See the glory of God here. See the wondrous, eternal, triune God here. Stop to consider the Father’s love for His Son here. Pause to think about Christ here. And then tell someone about Christ’s glory. Declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Following the Call from Christ (14-20)

 

Comment: In simple words, Mark relates the actions and words of Jesus about the gospel. First, after John’s arrest, Jesus arrives in Galilee. He preaches or proclaims the gospel of God. Jesus says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Here Jesus presents truth and then calls for a response to that truth. What did He say? The time is now. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel. Next, as Jesus was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew casting a net in the sea. And Jesus says to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. In this moment, Jesus calls for a response first and then presents truth. What’s clear is that the gospel message calls for a response—repent; believe; follow—to Christ. Question: Do we hear and heed Christ’s call? Do we repent and believe the gospel? Do we follow Christ? Do we see ourselves becoming fishers of men? Do we leave stuff behind for the sake of the call? Do we quickly jump to action when Christ speaks? Are we stuck in neutral? Will we follow Christ? Application: Hear the words of Jesus. The time is now. The kingdom is near. Repent and believe the gospel of God. So, repent and believe the gospel of God. Follow Jesus. Look for people ready to hear this good news. Speak the gospel. Declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Word Study for Mark 1:1-20

1 beginning (arche—power; office; ruler; first cause; origin; sphere of authority)

1 gospel (euangelion—good tidings; good news; the reward of good tidings; good message)

3 make ready (hetoimazo—prepare; to prepare oneself; get ready; provide)

4 preaching (kerysso—announce; proclaim; tell; persuade; warn; herald)

4 repentance (metanoia—change of mind (which results in a change of life); reversal of a decision)

5 confessing (exomologeo—confess in full; agree; admit; profess allegiance)

10 immediately (euthys—straight; at once; upright; straightaway; immediate; direct)

10 opening (schizo—split; divide; separate; part; a physical tearing; a social division)

11 beloved (agapetos—only dear; loved; very dear)

11 well-pleased (eudokeo—enjoy; prefer; approve; think well of; good pleasure; accept)

15 is fulfilled (pleroo—make full; be completely; accomplished; come to an end)

15 is at hand (engizo—bring near; bring up to; approach; draw near)

19 little farther (oligos—few; small; slight; in a short time; brief)

20 called (kaleo—call; summon; call to a task; invite; name)

20 left (aphiemi—let loose; depart from; leave behind; leave in a place; permit; abandon)[1]

 

Application for Mark 1:1-20

Let’s see and savor Jesus in the gospel.

Let’s marvel at the details of the gospel.

Let’s hear the call of God in the gospel.

Let’s obey the gospel.

Let’s praise God for His beloved Son.

Let’s listen to Jesus.

Let’s follow Jesus.

 

Gospel Connections for Mark 1:1-20

Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Son of God. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John pointed folks to Christ. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, Jesus saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit descending upon Him. A voice came out of the heavens, saying, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Immediately the Spirit directed Jesus into the wilderness.  Jesus was in the wilderness forty days. Satan tempted Him there. Jesus was with wild beasts there. Angels ministered to Him there. After John’s arrest, Jesus came into Galilee. While there, Jesus preached the gospel of God. Jesus spoke, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” And while in Galilee, Jesus called people to follow Him.

 

Thoughts and Quotes for Mark 1:1-20

The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart. ~ John Calvin

 

The great commandment is that we preach the gospel to every creature, but neither God nor the Bible says anything about forcing it down people's throats. ~ Louis Zamperini

If the focus of our testimony is our changed life, we, as well as our hearers are bound to be disappointed. ~ Michael S. Horton

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to both religion and irreligion. It can't be co-opted by either moralism or relativism.

~ Timothy J. Keller, King’s Cross

 

A gospel that elevates man and dethrones God is not the gospel. ~ Will Metzger

 

If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

~ Augustine

 

When we preach Christ crucified, we have no reason to stammer, or stutter, or hesitate, or apologize; there is nothing in the gospel of which we have any cause to be ashamed. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

 

This avoidance of the difficult things of Scripture — of sinfulness and hell and God’s notable severity — is idolatrous and cowardly. If a man or a woman who teaches the Scriptures is afraid to explain to you the severity of God, they have betrayed you, and they love their ego more than they love you. ~ Matt Chandler

 

As there is only one God, so there can be only one gospel. ~ James Denney



[1] Word studies from various sources on Logos Software, including, but not limited to Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains by James A. Swanson