Mark 1:1-8: It’s never about me.

“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way’–
‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.”’

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ ” NIV UK

I call Mark’s gospel the ‘action Man’ gospel. It is action packed – fast moving, pacy. It presents Jesus as a Man of action. It was probably the first gospel to be written, and owes much to Peter’s eye-witness account. It is shorter than the other gospels and contains more story (narrative) than teaching (discourse). Reading the opening verses, these words seemed to leap out of the page and grab me by the lapels: ‘’…as it is written…And so…’’ (2,4). That gave me pause to reflect:

  • If God prophesies, it will happen;
  • If He promises, it will be kept;
  • If He warns, it should be heeded;
  • If He commands, we must obey;
  • If He declares that something wonderful will happen in a ‘’wilderness’’ (3), it will happen in ‘’the wilderness’’ (4).

Each day, as you read God’s written Word, look for the ‘’And so…’’ What am I to believe because of this? What ought I to do? Where is the practical application for me? In which direction does it lie?  It seems to me there is the ‘’And so…’’ for preachers in this short paragraph about John the Baptist. Keep the spotlight on Jesus. Lift up Jesus in your preaching. Glorify Jesus. It is never about you; it is always about Him. If it were about me it would be bad news! To speak about Jesus, however, is ‘’the good news’’ (1). We are not worthy of the privilege of serving Jesus, but it is ours.

You may feel that God has called you to a ‘’wilderness.’’ Your place of ministry seems a barren, unpromising place. But read your Bible. God has done some remarkable things in deserts. It’s amazing how new life flows in the most arid of places when the Name of Jesus is uplifted. Well, what a great start to this gospel. It’s all about Jesus.