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Get Ready for God

Mark 1:1-3

God does not arrive, or do His work, unannounced (Amos 3:7).  As Isaiah announced John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3), and John announced Jesus (John 1:29), the task of God's people today is to prepare a rebellious world for the arrival of its King (Matthew 28:18-20).  Mark was quite clear about the identity of Jesus.  He was God's promised Messiah.  'Messiah' comes from a Hebrew word meaning 'Chosen One' or 'Anointed One': the equivalent Greek word is 'Christos' from which we get 'Christ' in English.  

Repentance and Confession

Mark 1:4-5

Repentance and confession are the keys to change.  John the Baptist announced that God was coming, and it was most important for everybody to get cleaned up to be ready for Him.  That role was prophesied by the Angel Gabriel before John's birth (Luke 1:16-17): it was his life's work.  John taught that sin is the great barrier between human beings and God (Isaiah 59:1-2) but that God would forgive those who repented and confessed their sin (2 Chronicles 7:14).  Many who accepted what John said, and repented of their sin, were willing to confess it publicly and were glad to be baptised.  That

Jesus is More Important than Me

Mark 1:6-7

John was not a pretty sight and his eating habits left something to be desired.  But his diet of wild honey and locusts was nutritious enough and permitted in the Mosaic law (Leviticus 11:22).  He did not bother to be politically correct because his task was not to make himself acceptable to society, but to point people to Jesus.  There was something iconically prophetic about his dress-style (Zechariah 13:4).

Outer and Inner Baptism

Mark 1:8-10

We cannot do everything, but we must do what we should do.  John the Baptist's role in introducing Jesus to Israel was important, but literally short-lived.  When his job was done, Jesus took 'centre stage' and John was eventually imprisoned and executed (Mark 6:25-29).  He had not failed - although he wondered if he had (Matthew 11:2-15) – he had simply fulfilled his mission.  Jesus' mission then began.  

God's Affirmation

Mark 1:11

Love is still the most prized commodity on earth.  Some say that God loves everyone, and that is true (John 3:16).  But in these sentimental days, it is important to understand that the 'love of God' and the 'pleasure of God' are different.  Let's take a moment to think it through, because God the Father told God the Son of both His love and His pleasure.  Jesus' baptism marked the beginning of His earthly ministry.  It started by sharing the dirty bathwater with sinful people (Matthew 3:13-15) and ended bearing their sin in His own body when He died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).  He did it

Confronting Evil

Mark 1:12-13

God does many things that are strange to our way of thinking.  That is because we do not know the end from the beginning: but He does (Isaiah 46:10).  After the extraordinary public conference of Father, Son and Holy Spirit when Jesus was baptised (Mark 1:9-11), why should the Spirit 'send' Jesus into the desert to meet Satan?  The original wording is even more dramatic: it is 'cast out' or 'drive out' - a word used 88 times in the New Testament, mainly for 'violently expelling' demons.  Why should the Holy Spirit powerfully eject Jesus from the holy fellowship of the Trinity, surrounded by

The Honourable Fallen

Mark 1:14-15

It never feels good to be put to one side.  John the Baptist could not have been very happy to be thrown into jail by an angry king who refused to repent when John reproved his immorality (Mark 6:17-18).  Sometimes the next phase of God's work requires that you should be moved off the stage so that Jesus, or another one of His servants, can move into your place.  That is not to denigrate your part; it merely clarifies that you are only a supporting actor and it is Jesus who has the lead role.  If John had stayed around it might appear that Jesus was his disciple, instead of the other way ar

Call to Follow

Mark 1:16-18

Most non-Christians think (if they think about it at all) that if God were to call anyone, He would obviously call a holy person doing holy things.  Not so!  It was just another ordinary day for the fishermen. There was nothing particularly holy about these men.  They were not in the temple or theologically eloquent. The Master simply walked by their workplace and commanded that they must change their job and become His apprentices.  And they did.

Called to a New Life

Mark 1:19-20

The Christian life inevitably includes a call away from the past.  Peter and Andrew were cleaning their nets (Mark 1:16-18); James and John were preparing their nets, but Jesus called all four to leave their nets and follow Him.  The call to follow was so authoritative that they obeyed.  It made sense to their hearts even though it separated them from the tools of their trade, their primary family loyalty and their financial security.  What the Lord Jesus injected into the lakeside beach was a commission to fulfil their 'design specification' - by serving and glorifying the Lord through doi

Amazing Authority

Mark 1:21-22

Jesus was born into a Jewish household and taught to observe the Law of Moses.  That included observing the Sabbath - the weekly day of rest for God's people, when the whole Jewish community stopped all their work (Exodus 20:8-11) and met together in the Synagogue.  The word 'synagogue' simply means 'assembly' or 'gathering'.  The central part of their meeting was the reading and explanation of God's Word – [in that way it later became the model for the local church (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)].  Men who wanted to read and expound the Scriptures could be given permission, and afterwards there