Summary: Book sermon on Gospel of Mark emphasizes the person of Jesus.
The Beginning of the Gospel Mark 1:1-3
INTRO.: Today’s message begins a series taken from the Gospel of Mark. It is the shortest of all the inspired biographies of Jesus and probably the first one written.
Its human author was a man named John Mark, who apparently writes himself anonymously into the record in 14:51. There is little known of him. He was probably a teenager when Jesus died and about 70 when he wrote. He was strongly influenced by the Apostle Peter, who called him his “son,” indicating he probably won him to Christ. Most scholars assume his Gospel is a synopsis of Peter’s preaching.
The first mention of Mark by name is in Acts 12:12 where we learn the Church met for prayer at his mother’s house in Jerusalem.
In Acts 13:5, it is noted he went with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary tour as their helper. This was quite a while after his departure from Jerusalem and separation from Peter. When Paul and Barnabas left Cyprus, John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. Later, this caused a division between Paul and Barnabas. Acts 15:36-40
They reconciled their differences and later Paul wrote from prison and asked the Colossians to send Mark to him so Mark could help him in his ministry. He spent some time with Paul while he was in prison in Rome. He evidently wrote his Gospel from Rome and targeted a Gentile readership. In the text, three phrases stand out. One involves the content of the message and the other two relate to the leading character.
I. The first is the “The beginning of the Gospel:”
A. The word itself means “good news.”
1. We must denounce sin and call for repentance. Must preach morality. These things are important, but are not the Gospel. The Gospel is a message of salvation, of comfort, hope, and joy.
2. Of course good news is the essence of the Christian message. Good news about forgiveness of sins and good news about the coming of Jesus and all He accomplished.
3. It was the proclamation of the angels in Lk. 2:10.
B. Mark is going to tell the beginning of the Gospel:
1. “Beginning” doesn’t refer to the beginning of the life of Jesus, Ministry of John, of Mark’s book’ or of a chapter or paragraph.
2. He is going to tell how the Good News began to be lived out in human history in the person of Jesus Christ. He will explain why the Good News is so good and why it is news.
3. He will show his readers, most of whom lived without God and without hope, that now there is hope in Jesus.
4. We all need this message today. In the midst of suffering, hardship, anxiety, there is good news in Jesus. There is hope, joy, comfort. There is a bright future.
C. There is a mystery in this passage: Mark seems to promise a quote from the prophet Isaiah then quotes, not from Isaiah, but from Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets. (Mal. 3:1.) There are a few things we must consider:
1. Mark’s Gospel is the first inspired biography of Jesus ever written. Before Mark wrote, those who preached Jesus used the Old Testament Scriptures to prove who He was. See the example of Phillip preaching to the Ethiopian in Acts. 8:32-35.
2. Remember, the language of the original text of the Bible had no punctuation and sentences didn’t begin with capital letters. These are matters of interpretation by the translators. The great Bible expositor, G. Cambell Morgan, suggested there should be a comma after “God” and a period after “Isaiah.”
3. Mark proposes to show his Gentile readers what the Jewish prophet about which they had heard so much was really describing. The life and ministry of Jesus.
4. He begins his narrative, after this introduction, with a quote from Isa. 40, the beginning of the Suffering Servant passages, where the prophet dwells so much on the ministry of Jesus.
5. This Good News was not conceived in the womb of a virgin with Jesus but in the mind of God from before eternity began and it was revealed through the prophets to those who “had an ear to hear.”
II. The second phrase that stands out is the name, “Jesus Christ.”
A. “Jesus” expressed His humanity. It was a human name.
1. A very common name in His day, Greek for “Joshua.” Given to Him at birth as directed by an angel before His birth.
2. A name that connects Him with humanity. Identified Him as the human child He was.
3. He came to earth to show us what the Invisible God is like and what He expects from us.
4. John proclaims this in his Gospel. John 1:18