January 11, 2015

By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor

Mark 1:1-13

In studying the early chapters of Mark, we will get to know a truly remarkable Jesus; a Jesus who surprises us with who he is… with how he acts …and with what he does in our lives.

The gospel of Mark begins by directly stating this book’s overall theme: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Mark 1:1).

Three proofs that Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:1-13)

1. Jesus has the prophesied forerunner : John the Baptist.

Not only was John himself prophesied by Malachi and Isaiah, but John was an actual forerunner, announcing and baptizing the Messiah.

2. The Father himself declares Jesus to be the Son of God.

“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son,” whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ “

3. Jesus is tempted directly by Satan himself.

Because he is the Son of God, Satan alone had to deal with him.

Satan kept saying, “If you are the Son of God….” Showing the underlying assumption that Satan was trying to undo.

Applications for Mark 1:1-13

1. In Our Beliefs:

Since John’s basic message is that Jesus is the Son of God, we are compelled to ask ourselves the question; “Do I truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Do we limit Jesus to simply a good man and moral teacher, or do we embrace him as God in human flesh? Have we made the choice the writer C.S. Lewis has proposed, between Jesus as either Lord, lunatic, or liar?

Are we honest? Do we truly believe it? We must believe it, or we cannot be called Christians because Christianity starts with this truth claim about who Jesus really is. If you are having problems believing Jesus is the Son of God, keep wrestling and pray that God will reveal himself to you.

2. In Our Lives:

Mark 1 shows us that Jesus’ ministry starts in the very last place we would expect…in the desert (a more accurate Greek translation than “wilderness”). Mark, an author of few words, uses the word “desert” frequently in his gospel to emphasize this important motif..

For us, a spiritual desert would be described as a place of struggling, devoid of much growth or fruit, stagnation in our walk with God, often rugged and empty, a lack of sensing the presence of God. Sometimes we thrust ourselves into this desert, and other times, circumstances and even God do the propelling.

Contrary to human wisdom, God chose the desert to begin Jesus’ ministry. It does not make sense to the modern mind that God would keep us in a spiritual desert. Yet the desert is exactly where God does new beginnings, e.g.: Moses and burning bush, birth of Israel, ministry to Elijah. The desert is always where we learn to trust God. Here God builds our faith and transforms us by giving us what we need, one day at a time.

You do not stay in the desert forever, but it is here that God does beautiful things in our lives and then brings us to a new season.

What is God doing in each of our lives in the desert???