The Beginning

Trygve and Kristen Johnson

READ : Mark 1:1-5

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (v. 1)

No one had ever written a Christian Gospel before Mark. He was the first. Mark created a new genre: Gospel, a good-news story. As it turned out, this type of literature became both foundational and formative for the church. Mark’s Gospel is the basic text for Christian spirituality.

Mark’s good-news story begins with bad news. It begins with a prophesy from Isaiah and then quickly points to John the baptizer who is “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (v. 4). Repentance implies something is wrong. People near and far flock to John to hear his message. In their hearts, people know something is wrong. They know they need to change. They know they need forgiveness. This is the heart of Christian spirituality.

Not much has changed. Before there is good news there is bad news. We still need to hear a call to repentance. Advent is a season of preparation for this call. It is a season when we prepare to be encountered by God in the flesh, who not only calls for our repentance and offers forgiveness, but who is the very means by which that repentance and forgiveness are made possible. This is good news.

PRAYER

God, call us to repent of our bad news in the light of your good news.