Monday, January 20, 2014

Where Does the Gospel Begin? - Mark 1:1-8, Post 1

Chalkboard: Mark 1:1-8 Post 1
Mark 1:1-8 starts, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ..."  This seems like the middle of the story to me, not the beginning.  John the Baptist is already baptizing people at the Jordan and Jesus is about to come.  I wonder why Mark starts here rather than with the birth of Jesus?

The other gospels go further back.  The whole Bible goes further back, for that matter.  Only God Himself knows exactly how far back the story goes.  Maybe there is no true beginning, as God is eternal, and the story is God's.  But when you tell a story, you have to begin the telling of it somewhere, even if its actual beginnings are in the far reaches of eternity.  

Luke begins the story with the angel appearing to Zechariah and the foretelling of the birth of the two children - John the Baptist and Jesus.  Matthew begins with Jesus' ancestors, starting with Abraham.  John goes further back to a beginning before the world was created.

But Mark starts on the banks of the Jordan with John the Baptist announcing - introducing - Jesus, and Jesus Himself steps into the water just a moment later.  

John the Baptist is introducing Jesus to Israel.  Most introductions start in the middle of the story.  Usually when we meet someone we are coming in on the middle of their story.  We don't know what all went before in their lives.  We might get to know a couple of facts about them if the person introducing us fills us in.  But we get to know someone AFTER we're introduced.  

Maybe Mark starts where he does because he's making an introduction.  And how better to make an introduction in a story than by describing an actual introduction that took place: John the Baptist publicly introducing Jesus.  

Mark isn't concerned with telling me how Jesus got here, just that I know that He IS here.  

And I realize that Mark isn't telling a story.  He's making an introduction.  He's not giving us a history - he's introducing us to a person.  He's not telling me about Jesus; he's introducing me TO Jesus.  

Mark wants us to know You.

I was feeling frustrated today.  I like to understand things, and I felt like understanding this was eluding me.  But You are not a grammar lesson to be understood or mastered.  You are a person to be known. 

I want to know You, Lord.  Help me to stop struggling to understand You as a lesson, and to remember that I am getting to know You as a person.  I may not ever know everything about You, but I can know You better today.  I want to sit with You as I would with a friend over coffee.  Not studying, but knowing.  

Where would you begin telling the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

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  1. Michele, how long have you had this blog? Why didn't I know about it? I'm so far behind! But I'm excited to see it and follow your travels. I love you, sweet niece.

    1. Thank you, Aunt Gloria!
      You didn't know about it because I JUST started it last week. ;-) I've been wanting to do it for a long time, but it has taken awhile to set everything in motion.
      But as far as that goes, I just discovered YOUR blog yesterday! Angie shared hers on facebook and through hers I found yours, quite by accident. So You are not the one who is far behind.
      I hope to soon start posting about my surgery here (in Siberia) - I meant it to be one post but it has turned out to be several - I'm still working on it. I couldn't tell the story in just a few lines.
      I love you, too!