ISAIAH 40:1-5,9-11 | 1 PETER 3:8-14 | MARK 1:1-8
The evangelist, Mark, begins his gospel with a most marvelous sentence. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” It’s so simple that we can overlook it and miss what it’s saying. So let’s spend some time di- gesting it’s content.
Let’s start with word the “gospel.” In Greek, the original language of the gospel, the word is “euangeleon.” It’s a combination of two words, “eu,” meaning good, and “angeleon,” meaning messenger. In ancient days when a King, for example, was victorious in a battle, messen- gers were sent throughout the realm carrying the good news of the victory. The meaning of gospel is, first and foremost, an announcement declaring good news. The angels in Luke’s story of the birth of Jesus, for example, were messengers declaring good news. “Today, in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Savior and Lord.” That news was so good that the angels were joined by a multi- tude of angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.”
Mark introduces the messenger to us today by using the words of the prophet Isaiah. “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” In the next sentence, he identifies the messenger, John the Baptist. His message is startling and pow- erful. “One mightier than I will come after me… he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
This first sentence of Mark’s gospel is not only an announcement, it’s also a very short, but powerful, creed. “The beginning of the Gos- pel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus is a man like all of us, but Mark is telling us that he’s much more than that; he is the Christ, the Messiah that the prophets spoke of and prom- ised. But, he’s more than the Messiah. Jesus Lord. He’s the Son of God.
Mark’s marvelous first sentence has a power- ful message for us. Jesus is Messiah and Lord. He’s the Son of God. If we believe this, truly take it into our hearts and invite Jesus to be our Lord, how blessed we are. There isn’t anything greater. But…there is something we must recognize. This acceptance of the Lord in our lives is only the start, the beginning. We’ve heard the good news and have accepted it. Now we act, we become the messengers. We declare it to the next generation, to anyone who can hear. As John the Baptist told us today, we’ve been baptized in the water of re- pentance and new life. Now we, move with the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we’re the begin- ning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. We’re the euangeleon.