Monday, September 7, 2015

The Gospel of Mark: New Yet Old

The Gospel of Mark is my favorite New Testament book. (Psalms wins for the Old Testament.) So, I thought that it would be good to slowly blog my way through it.

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.’” Mark 1:1-3

There are many things going on here. Mark tells us whom he is writing about: Jesus. But he also tells us some important things about who this Jesus is. He is the Christ. And he is the Son of God. And then, he quotes a prophet from what we would call the Old Testament, though Mark would have just called it 'Scripture'. In starting with this quote, Mark is tipping his hand. He is telling his readers that though, in one sense, he is writing about the beginning of the good news about Jesus, in another sense, this good news is old. It has deep roots in what God had already done centuries before. Mark knows that his readers will not understand well enough what it means that Jesus is the Christ and that He is the Son of God if they don't find the roots of those terms - and more - in the older Scriptures. After all, 'Christ' and 'Son of God' are Old Testament concepts.

Yes, this is the beginning of what Jesus has come to do, but it is not the beginning of what God has been up to. You will not understand Jesus well enough unless you see Him in the context of the older testament. And I write that because far too many Christians neglect the older testament. They really don't know what God did during those ages and how it is the foundation for the Jesus' ministry. And as a result, they misunderstand key aspects of who Jesus is and what He has come to accomplish. So, it's important to note that Mark begins with a quote from Isaiah. And as I work my way through this gospel I'll try to point out some of the connections between what Jesus was saying and doing, and what God had been busy doing before His advent, things that prepared the way for that advent.

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