The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’”. John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. – Mark 1:1-4 ESV
There it is! What each and every one of us is called to do. Take action, Keep It Simple Soldier: Confess, Repent, and share what Jesus did! If you are a child of God, then your mission is just like John’s mission, Preparing the way of the Lord, leading others to a saving relationship with God the Father, through His Son, our Savior, Jesus the Christ. The fair question is, ‘How did John ‘prepare the way’? What did John do to prepare the way? Luke 3:3-4, “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Also in Matthew’s gospel; 3:1-3, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So how did the people cooperate with John, in preparing the way for Jesus? They confessed their sins and were baptized as a sign that they have turned from their sins, as Matthew 3:6 tells us, “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” Keep It Simple Soldier, this is the BEGINNING; Confess and Repent! We need to know what these 2 words mean. In the original language Confess means to ‘agree with God’, and Repent means, ‘to turn, to change your mind, to do something different’. This is the beginning of the GOSPEL, and this is when and how the heart is prepared!
Leader, the first 4 books of the New Testament are called the Gospels. The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- are all about the life and ministry of Jesus, the Christ. Four Gospels, four personal perspectives, ONE JESUS! Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the ‘Synoptic Gospels” because they share a lot of the same stories and ‘look and read similarly’, whereas the Gospel of John is more unique. Somewhere North of 90% of the Gospel of John is unique to his gospel. With that said, the book of Mark is unique in many ways. John Mark was NOT an apostle, he was the nephew of Barnabas. The Gospel of Mark is the earliest written gospel, and chronologically one of the first books of the New Testament written. Mark is the shortest, and in many ways, the most mysterious of the four gospels in the New Testament. The book has been called the Gospel of Peter, because it was penned by John Mark, but written from the stories of Peter. John Mark was a spiritual son to Peter, and he was much younger, and learned about Jesus, not just from firsthand experiences around Jesus, but from Peter, who was in Jesus’ inner circle. John Mark was more like many of us. He was around Jesus enough to see Him as special, but learned about Jesus’ deity and life-changing impact from Peter’s personal experience. Mark made many mistakes and is considered to possibly be the young man who ran from the Garden of Gethsemane, during Jesus’ arrest- naked. “And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked”. (Mark 14:51-52) It was also Mark who got afraid and abandoned Paul on an early trip to share the Gospel in Pamphylia. And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. (Acts 15:36-39) Mark sounds like many Christians I know today. Can you relate to John Mark?
Conduit, John was his Jewish name, while Mark was his Latin sir name. God is the omni-God; Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, however, he is also Omni-purposive, meaning He is PURPOSE driven and has many reasons for everything He does. What is the purpose of having 4 gospels, there is lots of speculation. Many commentators tell us that the Gospel of Matthew was written for the nation Israel, for the religious man. However, J Vernon McGee says this about the Gospel of Mark, “Mark was written for the Roman, it was suited for the Roman mind. It was written for the strong man. The Romans ruled the world, and ruled it for a millennium…it was very much about a strong ‘man’ ruling and bringing about change through a road system, government, and Peace through strength…. a peace forced on the world, in the hands of a ‘strong man’. Rome represented active human power in the ancient world. It is Simon Peter’s Gospel, and it is a Gospel of ACTION. That is the type of man that Simon Peter was, a man of action. IN the Gospel of Mark, Jesus seems to lay aside the regal robes of Majesty that Matthew wrote about, and He girds Himself with the ‘towel of service’ as He moves in, and He is a man of action. He is the King in Matthew, He is the servant in the Gospel of Mark, not the servant of man, but of God”, Jehovah, Abba, Daddy. This Gospel starts at the beginning. Not the beginning of the world, like Genesis, not the beginning of Time, like John, but the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. ‘Jesus came, Jesus only, He is risen’, are the fiery headlines of the Gospel of Mark. We need to be more like Mark, and be about the business of a servant. We need to be active, AND do those things that Jesus commanded. We need to Keep It Simple Soldier, like Mark, sometimes BRIEF and BLUNT. Short and sweet. He gets right to the point, the gospel of action and accomplishment. The Gospel is written in a simple style, designed for the masses. One commentator noted that the conjunction, “AND” occurs more than any other word in the Gospel- 1331 times. McGee says that ‘AND’ is an action word. It is something that means, SOMETHING HAS TO FOLLOW! Today let’s be like Mark and take ACTION! Like Mark, it is ok to be scared, but DON’T run away. Keep It Simple Soldier, the enemies #1 weapon formed against us is CONFUSION. Confusion hinders action! Confess and Repent and let others know the action of our LORD, in His ministry of reconciliation! For God so loved the World that He did something about it! Today, do something about it!