1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
3“a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:1-8, NLT)
The beginning of Mark is different than most of the other gospel books. The first words are “the beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ.”
What I find interesting about this statement is that Mark starts off stating that the gospel is about Jesus Christ but then he immediately shifts to some Old Testament passage in Isaiah, followed by a description of John the Baptist, a fiery preacher who lived out in the desert, wore weird clothes and baptized people in the Jordan river.
If the gospel is about Jesus and Mark’s book is about the beginning of the gospel, why is it that we don’t see or hear anything about Jesus until halfway through the first chapter (verse 9)?
I think what Mark’s account demonstrates is that Jesus is the center of the gospel story but he’s not the whole story. The Isaiah passage along with the verses describing John the Baptist indicates that God is always working behind the scenes and preparing people for the arrival of Jesus.
The gospel is indeed about Jesus. He’s the central figure. Without Jesus, there is no good news. But even before Jesus shows up, God is working, paving the way and preparing people’s hearts for the arrival of the king!
In what ways did God prepare you for the arrival of Jesus in your life? Who are the key people and what are the key situations that paved the way for you to recognize the king?
What are some ways you can be involved in being a gospel-paver for others?