Mark begins his Gospel with the ministry of John the Baptist. After Jesus is baptized by John he moves into his public ministry.
We understand that when Jesus came as a sinless Savior entering a sinful world, all of history changed. We benefit from his example and incomparable service to us.
Help us to appreciate how much he identifies with us by enduring temptations, caring for our needs and ultimately dying so that we might receive eternal life.
Help us to be willing to serve him as our God and Savior, being willing to leave anything and everything behind that stands in the way of complete devotion to our Lord.
Help us also to be willing to serve him right where we are, if that is your will for us.
Give us supernatural insight so as to always be aware of the spiritual battle that is raging around us. We want to continue to further your kingdom and see your word go out to everyone everywhere.
And help us to be devoted to the proclamation of the gospel message, the message that tells us that Jesus Christ our Lord has come. We need to repent and believe in him.
In Christ’s name we pray,
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The gospel message, euangelion or “good news,” begins with Jesus Christ. It is the message about him and his coming and about his work. Mark’s book gives us the story of his life, death and resurrection. Unlike the quotation that allegedly comes from St. Francis of Assisi, it is full of words from beginning to end.
You may know the little saying that I am talking about, the one that says,
Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.
With respect to this saying, a little debunking is in order. First of all, it is not likely that Francis ever said it. Second, he did gobs of verbal preaching, so he evidently thought using words was necessary pretty much all the time.
How on earth can news, bad or good, be faithfully and continuously communicated without words anyway? This is no criticism of good deeds. It is simply stating the obvious that deeds and words are different things and the gospel is something that takes words. That is no doubt why Francis preached so much verbally, out loud and in public. It is also why Mark wrote a book with words rather than a coloring book or a comic book without captions.
Mark Galli wrote a little biography of St. Francis, which is short and readable enough to enjoy by almost anyone. It is presently available on Amazon for more money than you want to spend on it. When I bought it, the price was way lower. If you want, I might cut you a deal on my own copy, and I’d send it to you for much less than that current high price (and still make a handsome profit). Then again, even the first few paragraphs of his article on Christianity Today will give you enough information to back up my point about the quotation. The title alone will help. It is “Speak the Gospel: Use Deeds When Necessary.”
For the next few months at our church we will be going through Mark’s Gospel and reading every word, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Every week we will look at one more portion of Christ’s life and ministry. We just finished Matthew and the plan is to go through Luke and John after we finish Mark. This will be lots of gospel, lots of words and lots of Jesus. It will also give us lots of good news.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Christ had compassion on the shepherdless crowds who were harassed and helpless. In response he asked us to pray, and so this is what we are doing. He alone is their true Shepherd, their Good Shepherd and Chief Shepherd.
There are multitudes who need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of who he is and what he has done. There are multitudes more who need to hear it again, who need to be reminded or given one more opportunity to respond.
None of us can accomplish this task alone. Please, heavenly Father, send out laborers. As Jesus pointed out, the harvest is truly plentiful and the laborers few. Send out laborers into this great harvest field. Let their labors lead to the increase of your church. Let their labors be used to build your church. Let eternity be filled with more people brought into your family as a result of the laborers that you send out in response to our prayers. Let disciples be multiplied and the knowledge of your word be increased. And let your name be glorified throughout all ages as a result.
Unity, Diversity and Our Identity in Christ
Part 8 of 14
No philosopher, king, scientist or superhero can save humanity from sin. We need a Savior and that is what God has given us.