Verse of the Day Devotion. Mark 1:1
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” – Mark 1:1
We are now going to go through Mark’s gospel. First, let us look at who Mark is. John Mark, who was often simply called Mark, is the author of the gospel named after him. He was a believer in the early church mentioned directly only in the book of Acts. John Mark is first mentioned as the son of a woman named Mary, whose house was being used as a place for believers to gather and pray. “And when Peter came to himself, he said, Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting. And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.” Acts 12:11-12. We see that Peter was rescued from prison where Herod had placed him, and was rescued by an angel, so he decides to go to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark, Her home was a place where the Christians gathered to pray and I am sure to be discipled. Later, Mark is mentioned as a companion of Barnabas and Paul during their travels together. “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.” Acts 12:25. And, John Mark was also Barnabas’ cousin. “Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’ cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him).” Colossians 4:10. And lastly, Barnabas desired to forgive John Mark’s failure and to give him another chance. Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia. Paul took the more rational view: pioneering missionary work requires dedication, resolve, and endurance. Paul saw John Mark as a risk to their mission. Luke, the writer of Acts, does not take sides or present either Paul or Barnabas as being in the right. He simply records the facts. It’s worth noting that, in the end, two groups of missionaries were sent out, one group including Mark, which caused twice as many missionaries to spread the gospel. God had a plan.
Mark begins his gospel account, as our focus verse declares, that Jesus is the Son of God. The word ‘gospel’ literally signifies good news, and particularly the good news regarding the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. And he quotes the prophet Isaiah who is declaring the words that would be spoken by the messenger who would declare His coming. The words here are the words of Isaiah, however I will quote from Malachi similar words. “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1. This describes the ministry of John the Baptist, who was the messenger God sent to declare the way of Jesus. He says that John came here to prepare the way of Jesus, to clear the way for Him, which means he will prepare the hearts of the Jews to see He is their promised Messiah, the Son of God.
And here is how John prepared the way. “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 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. And John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 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. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:4-8. He came to prepare the hearts and minds of the Jewish people to hear the message of Christ.
And this is a picture of what we are called to do. We cannot save anyone but we can prepare people to accept the salvation provided by Jesus. Mark at the end of his gospel, says “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15. We cannot save them, but we can prepare them to accept the salvation offered by Christ. So see yourself working, continuing the work John the Baptist started so that many can be saved. In doing so, you may never know all the people you have helped prepare to receive Christ’s salvation.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, for their