How to Begin: The Gospel of Mark 1:1-8

Notes on the sermon from LIT Youth, Tuesday, 2.1.11

The Gospel of Mark is great!  It’s the shortest one. It has a lot of action. And it’s written for people like us: Gentiles! That just means it was written for people who weren’t Jewish.

background
The most general acceptance of who Mark was is as follows: He was not a follower of Jesus during His lifetime, but was brought into the faith as a young person by his family. He was the cousin of Barnabus (check out the book of Acts for more on Barnabus). His name was John Mark (John = Yohan, a Jewish name; Mark = Markus, a Greek name). Again, you can read the book of Acts for more about John Mark.

It is believed that he was a translator for Peter as he preached. It is thought that the Gospel of Mark is a compilation of Peter’s sermons about the life of Jesus, probably written in Rome while Peter was imprisoned there.

The Gospel of Mark tells us about the man Jesus was. It emphasizes His miracles and works. It’s the action Gospel. So, let’s dig in!

message

Looking at stuff like the revolution in Egypt, and other political events, we find that a lot of people try to make Christianity political. And that’s ok, as long as you are living out your involvement in politics with the same righteousness and faith as in the rest of your life. But Jesus is not a political figure. Jesus avoided political questions:

John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

He focused on people’s hearts and the politics of eternity, not this world. So we should as well. Let’s be like Him. Let’s follow Jesus, and let the rest work itself out.

follow people who are better than you:

Mark 1

1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it 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 wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'”

4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The 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.6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

John was a prophet. Tons of people followed him. Because he knew of a better way to live. People followed him and went to him because they wanted a new beginning and wanted to get the “better life”. But even John spoke of something better:

7 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.8 I baptize you witht water, but he will baptize you witht the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus is the One coming after John. Jesus is so rad that John says he’s not even good enough to untie Jesus’ shoes. That’s crazy awesome. If John was cool enough for half of Israel to trek out to the Jordan river to follow, Jesus should be worth following just about anywhere!

It’s kinda like how I learned to snowboard and skateboard. I would hang out at skateparks and try to do the tricks that the other guys would do. I would watch them, and maybe even try to follow the same lines they took through the park. I followed the guys who were better than me.

When I was a kid, Michael Jordan was the best basketball player ever. He had commercial jingles about him, “I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike.” He had shoes. He was on the Wheaties box. His team won all the time. I always wanted to do the “Air Jordan” dunk, and would do so any time there was a rim low enough to the ground to fake it. Jordan was the best, and kids across the country followed his example.

In the same way, Jesus was the best that ever lived. And part of that was done to show us how to live life in a way that pleases God. So we should follow Him. Be like Him. And with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we can.

As we read Mark, we’ll see how Jesus lived, and how we can follow and be like Him.

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