Wednesday after the First Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: St. Mark 1:1-8 (NKJV)
1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the Prophets:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.” 3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'”
4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
“The beginning of the Gospel” is the fulfillment of the prophecy that makes clear who Jesus is. This is the Son of God, who is coming; this is the Lord (Yahweh/Jehovah), the true and only God. You would do well not to put any obstacles in His way, because they will not stop Him, but only harm you.
“The beginning of the Gospel” is not only a call to tear down the barrier that sinners place in God’s path by their rebellion, but an actual tearing down of the same through a gift given by God. This preaching consists of a Baptism that gives the removal of sins to those who hear they need such forgiveness and believe that what John says of this Baptism is true: while he applies water and proclaims what God says, this coming Son of God is the giver of the Holy Spirit through this medium of water and Word.
“The beginning of the Gospel” gains attention by taking those who heard and saw back to the prophets of the earlier days—not so John might get attention for himself, but to point to their prophecies and to Him who is the heart and core of them all, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for raising up Your servant, John, to live with the harshness of both wilderness and prison to point out how we are and what we deserve, so that our hearts would be ready to receive Him who is the Light of the World, Your beloved Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.