Today we are reading from Mark 1: 14-15:
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Today in our reading from Mark, we see once again that Mark doesn’t spend a lot time with backstory or details that he doesn’t believe are pertinent to Jesus’ story. For instance, we see here that after John was arrested, Jesus begins His ministry.
Why was John arrested? The other Gospels tell us it was because he was preaching again the actions of King Herrod. But, for Mark, that’s not the point. For Mark, Jesus’ ministry on the earth, Jesus’ power, and cross are the points. All that happens in Jesus’ story moves us forward to these things.
Mark’s focus is EXCLUSIVELY on Jesus and His actions. I think that’s a good path for us to take as well in our lives, focus on Jesus, above all else.
Today we are told Jesus’ first message, what He came to preach. Every preacher remembers their first sermon. I gave mine at my home church, Johnston Chapel UMC, and I preached a 20-minute sermon in about five minutes. Jesus begins His public ministry with this message – repent and believe the good news.
In other words, turn from your sin, and know that the Lamb of God has come to save you and show you the path of life. To repent is not to feel sorry for your sins. That is conviction, and sometimes we mistake the two. Jesus today doesn’t say feel bad about your sins. He says repent. Turn from them. Turn away. Turn away from the things that destroy us, that hurt us, that lead us into death.
Turn from death (repent) and turn to life (the Good News). You are loved and can be forgiven and restored, today. That is the good news. Through Jesus we know life, love, forgiveness, grace, what it means to truly live, in the fullest manner.
That was His first message, and that is His message today. Repent and believe the good news. May it be so for us today.
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