Gospel of Jesus
The opening verse in Mark one is a summary of the whole book. In this one verse, we get a simple statement about Jesus and who he is. Mark does not seem to hide this line to the end, with an enormous twist at the end of his gospel. From the gates, he explains his gospel in an excerpt. In this one verse, we find great news to everyone who understands and believes this one verse. In twelves words in English and seven in Greek, we see the sweet news of hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. As mentioned previously, Mark writes wanting the hearer or reader of his gospel to answer the question, who do you think Jesus is? Is he a good teacher whom we should follow for moral advice? Is he a failed political leader who failed to conquer the Romans? Mark tells you the answer to the question before writing the Gospel account.
I. The Beginning
The opening word echoes that of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. However, when John and Moses penned this word, they spoke of the beginning of time, before creation. However, Mark pens his gospel and places his gospel in history. That history is really His Story, Jesus. The Gospel of Mark is not written in a vacuum. The Bible is bound together because it is meant to be read together. Mark is the start of the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, it is not the start of a whole new story. Verse two starts with, “as it is written…” showing the connection to the old testament and new testament. We will see these important connections as we go through the Gospel of Mark. In the Gospel of Mark, there are 69 OT references. Over two-thirds of the references are found in the last eight chapters. Over half of them are from the prophets (54%), Isaiah is the most common (28%) equal laying all the references in the first five books of the Bible. Of these references in Isaiah, 73% of them come from chapters 40-66, which focuses on the Suffering Servant.
I. The Gospel
The term gospel can be used in a variety of ways today. The word is commonly used as an adjective to seek to describe the purpose of an organization/ministry. Gospel-centered hospitality or gospel centered anything. The word can be used to describe the genre of a book, such as the gospels, meaning the first four books of the New Testament. However, in this instance, the gospel means good news. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the old testament, uses this word as messengers come to tell David that King Saul has died. The messenger thought he was bringing good news to David (2 Sam 4:10). Think of the messenger who comes with great news, the soldier running back to the general and yelling, “peace, peace, the enemy has been defeated.” Isaiah has many references to the good news of the one who brings salvation and redemption (Is 40:9, 52:7, 61:1). We turn and open the Gospel of Mark, and it truly is good news. Good news to sinners who need a savior, good news to the poor and broken-hearted, good news to the lost and sick. Many people see Christianity as the problem, not the solution. They see the Bible as bad news, not good news. However, we have good news found on these pages. Not only some good news but THE good news. We can find out the good news in our lives, yet we forget about THE good news. This is good news to all who trust in Jesus Christ. This is the good news that everyone should hear.
III. The Christ
Christ is not Jesus’s last name but speaks again of who Jesus is. Like the name Jesus, it is not happenstance that has made this name so familiar. Christ comes from the Greek word, Christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew word for Messiah (Which means anointed one). The term appears over 500 times in the New Testament. The Jews were waiting for the Messiah, the one to come who was promised in the Old Testament. Right from the very beginning, God promised that one was to come who would crush the head of the Serpent (Gen 3:15). The Messiah was the one to come who would be the prophet that Moses spoke of (Deut 18:15), the Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4), and the King who would rule forever, out of the stump of Jesse (Is 11:1, 10). Mark explains at the very start that Jesus is the anointed Messiah who was told would come right from the beginning. This is why Peter’s confession in Mark 8:29 is what many scholars call the hinge of the whole book, “And [Jesus] asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
We are told from the beginning who Jesus is, however throughout the gospel we see that no one truly understands what he came to do. Jesus explains that the Son of Man (a reference to the coming Messiah found in Daniel) must suffer, be rejected, killed, and be raised from the dead (Mark 8:31). However, Peter rejects what Jesus said the Messiah came here to do (Mark 8:32). Several times Jesus explains what the Son of Man came to earth to do (Mark 9:31, 10:33), yet each time the disciples do not understand (Mark 9:32), or they argue over who will sit at his right hand (Mark 10:34 ff). We need to not assume we know what Christ has come to do, but we need to turn to the Word of God, the whole word, to teach us who Jesus is. Many people ask the question, “Who is Jesus?” However, they seek to make Jesus about the issues that are important to them.
IV.The Son of God
Jesus’ frequently calls himself the Son of Man (Referencing Daniel 7). However, Mark introduces Jesus as the Son of God. The title Son of God is only used three specific times in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:1, 3:11, and 15:39). Interestingly, only unclean spirits and a centurion soldier state that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Peter, in his confession (Mark 8:29), in the Gospel of Matthew, says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16). Mark does not record the second portion of Peter’s confession. However, the title ‘Son of God’ is only referenced three times. The phrase beloved Son is used three times at critical points in Christ’s life; baptism (Mark 1:11), Power of demonic spirits (Mark 5:7), and the Transfiguration (Mark 9:7). The title Son of God can be used speaking of various finite beings; angles (job 1:6), Kings (Ps 89:26-27), priests (Mal 1:6), Israel (Deut 14:1), and Adam (Luke 3:38). However, Christ’s sonship is unique (Matt 11:25-27, 1 John 5:20, Rom 8:3, 32, John 5:18).
These truths are the foundation of the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a real man who entered history. Jesus was the one who bought the good news into the world. Jesus is the promised Messiah who would crush the head of the serpent. Jesus is the Son of Man and the Son of God. These truths are given to us in the first verse of the Gospel of Mark. However, Peter explains in his sermon in Acts chapter 10, “To him, all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” You must believe in your heart Paul explains in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Who do you say that I am? How you answer that question has the greatest impact on your life.
Believing is nothing else but the accepting of Christ for your Lord and Savior, as he is offered to you in the gospel. And this accepting is principally, if not only, the act of your will, so that if you are sincerely and cordially willing to have Christ upon his own terms, upon gospel terms—that is, to save you and rule you, to redeem you and to reign over you—then you are a believer. Your sincere willingness to believe is your faith, and this gift brings you within the compass of the promise of eternal happiness and blessedness.