An Important word in Mark: Immediately!
Some have attributed Mark’s brevity to a sense of urgency in the message. For example, his abrupt beginning lends itself to the thinking of getting to the heart of the matter. The word “immediately” is used over 40 times, while the same word only occurs 12 other times in the rest of the New Testament!
So, let’s let this word “immediately” guide our thinking today.
An Immediate Reason for Jesus’ Coming (1-11)
Good News! Indeed Mark gets right to the point. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God.” Perhaps you have heard many times that the Gospel means “good news.” Jesus’ coming was and is “good news.” I’m always struck at Easter time that we cannot adequately celebrate Easter without celebrating Christmas. That is, we do not understand His coming apart from His death, burial, and resurrection.
A little later in Mark, Mark describes the reason for Jesus’ coming in quite specific terms. Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus’ own Statement as to Why He Came! “to serve and to give His Life a ransom for many”
• A Plan “(He came)”—Jesus came to die. This was the plan before the foundation of the world. God did not panic and say, “What am I going to do with humanity? What am I going to do with all of this sin?” Listen to what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:20-21, “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
• A Present “to give”—Jesus gave us the first Christmas present when He gave us Himself.
• His Person “His Life”—In his book The Life of God in the Soul of Man, Henry Scougal, the seventeenth-century Scottish minister, said, “God hath long contended with a stubborn world, and thrown down many a blessing upon them; and when all his other gifts could not prevail, he at last made a gift of himself.”
• A Picture “a ransom”—The most theologically significant part of this phrase is perhaps in the word, “ransom.” The word was used in the first century to refer to releasing someone from slavery, prison, or a debt. Jesus referred to our sin problem in terms of slavery as recorded in John 8:34. “Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
An Immediate Reality of Jesus’ Coming (14-15)
We have considered the meaning of His coming—our ransom, His forgiveness. If that is the meaning of His coming, what is the message of His coming? What is the reality of His coming? Verse 14 and 15 puts this reality into simple terms: Repent and believe in the good news!
This message from Jesus is the same one preached by John the Baptist. John the Baptist preached to prepare people for the message from Jesus. What are we to do with this mercy? We are to repent and believe in the good news. If not, we miss the whole meaning of Christmas.
An Immediate Response to Jesus’ Coming (16-20)
Last, we see that Jesus got an immediate response from those He first encountered. What does Christmas call us to do? Christmas calls us to be … •
• Followers—We are called to follow.
• Fishers—Once followers, we are called to join Him in asking others to follow.
Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com.