The Beginning of the Good News

Mark 1:1 — Opening verse is basically a summary statement of the entire Gospel. For Mark, the purpose of writing was to convey a crucial message, the life-changing Good News about Jesus Christ. Paul would later write to the same Roman audience about the power of this Gospel. See Romans 1:16.
 
Both Christ and Messiah referred to One divinely appointed and anointed by God for a special mission. See Mark 10:45. But make no mistake. While he came as a servant, he was also the One True Son of God. He alone was fully man (Jesus), God’s anointed One (Christ), and fully divine (Son of God). Right at the opening we are confronted with Jesus Christ the Son of God. The reader/hearer is going to have to respond in some way. He either is who he says He is and deserves all our lives, or he is not. There is no middle ground.
 
Mark 1:2–3 — These verses are a composite quotation borrowing from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Pictures the custom of sending servants ahead of a king to level and clear the roads to make them passable for his journey. John’s preaching helped to prepare the people — to clear away the spiritual debris and straighten any “crooked” moral paths.
 
Mark 1:4 — For 400 years, there has not been a prophet in Israel. It was believed that when the anticipated Messiah came he would be preceded by a prophet. See Luke 1:16-17. Mark pictured John the Baptist as a herald proclaiming news of the coming King, the Messiah. Important Roman officials of this day were always preceded by an announcer or herald. See Matthew 3:1-2. Repentance has two sides: turning away from sins; turning toward God. To be truly repentant, people must do both.
 
Mark 1:5 — Many significant events took place around the Jordan. It was by the Jordan River that the Israelites rented their covenant with God before entering the Promised Land (Joshua 1-2). Here John the Baptists calls them to renew their commitment with God again, this time through baptism.
 
Mark 1:6 — He dressed like the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1:8).
 
Mark 1:7 — John’s message was all about Christ. John knew his place. See John 3:28–30. In Oriental households, a lowly slave untied the sandals of guests and then washed their feet.

Mark 1:8 — The coming of the Spirit had been prophesied as part of the Messiah’s arrival. See Ezekiel 36:26-27; Joel 2:28-29. This looked ahead to Pentecost (Acts 2), when the Holy Spirit would be sent by Jesus. When Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit, the entire person would be transformed by the Spirit’s power. Jesus would offer both forgiveness of sin and the power to live for him. We need more than repentance to save us; we need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
 

The good news is that Jesus, Son of God, came to forgive our sins and fill us with the Holy Spirit.

 
Mark 1:9 — Why was Jesus baptized by John? To confess sin on behalf of the nation (as prophets had done); to fulfill all righteousness in order to accomplish God’s mission and advance God’s work in the world (Matthew 3:15); to launch his public ministry; to identify with sinful people; and to give us an example to follow.
 
Mark 1:10 — The “splitting” of the heavens presents God’s intervention into humanity in the human presence of God in Jesus Christ. The descending of the Spirit signified God’s workings in the world; the arrival of the Messiah would have been marked by the descending of the Spirit, in this case, in the form of a dove. See Luke 4:18-19.
 
Mark 1:11 — Notice this was even before he started his public ministry – no preaching, no miracles, no ministry yet. We are considered children of God. That same pleasure rests on us.
 

The good news is that God the Father loves you and His favor rests on you.

 
Mark 1:12-13 — The episode began with the Spirit’s guidance. This shows that God’s leading does not always guarantee safe circumstances. God’s Spirit will lead us, as he led Jesus, into the places we need to go, even though they may be difficult. See Hebrews 2:17–18.
 

The good news is that Jesus understands our temptation and will help us when tempted.