The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 1:1-8
I first encountered the art(?) of memorizing movie lines when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid first came out. A friend had seen it (more than once???) and was parroting the line from the movie, “Who are those guys? Nobody can track over solid rock. Who are those guys?!?” Those guys were extraordinarily-talented trackers, hot on the trail of Butch and Sundance.
Mark makes it very clear that he is chronicling Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let’s be clear about this. Jesus is not merely a great teacher. He is more than a prophet. He is more than a martyr. He is not just a religious figure. Jesus is the Son of God.
The history of the Early Church is rife with controversies about the person of Jesus Christ. From questions about the resurrection to Jesus’ place in the Godhead, to Jesus’ role in the sending of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ identity and nature has been an issue of singular significance.
Rather than enter into those controversies, we can deduct important things about Jesus. He is the Christ – the anointed one of God. He is the Son of God. His presence is Good News. Perhaps we could spend time and energy memorizing some of Jesus’ sayings. Key among those will be our focus next week. For now, it is enough to know who he is and that his presence is blessed Good News.