Thursday, September 1, 2022

              Mark is likely the earliest of the four gospels.  This gospel was also a source for both Matthew and Luke.  Together, the first three gospels are often called the synoptic gospels because of the similarities they share with each other.  Mark’s gospel is the shortest of the four.  In his gospel, Mark wrote with a sense of urgency or immediacy.  Indeed, a key word to describe this book might be immediately.  For example, Jesus was pursued by a large crowd in Mark 6:31-34 when he sought rest and a time to reflect.  Earlier, in Mark 3:20, such a large gathering of people crowded into the house where Jesus and His disciples were that there was no time to eat a meal.  Urgency and immediacy.  Indeed, as followers of Christ, there are things that demand our time, attention and focus.  We are to tend to these priorities with urgency and immediacy.  Knowing the Lord and walking with the Lord are the greatest missions we have in life.
            Mark’s gospel immediately jumped into telling the story of Jesus’ life, deeds and ministry.  Barely a quarter of the way into chapter one, Jesus announced the good news of the gospel.  We read, “’The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15).  Two verses later, Jesus called His first disciples, “’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:17-18).  This theme of urgency and immediacy is reflected in the verses we just read.  First, Jesus announced that God’s timing had arrived.  The gospel was ready to be revealed in fullness and completion.  Jesus’ time had come—the hopes and expectations of the prophets were at last fulfilled in Jesus’ appearance.  And second, Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom of God had taken a bold step forward.  It had entered into the world and the realm of human existence.  The Kingdom had come not to rival or topple Rome but to live within the hearts and lives of all who welcomed and received the Lord Jesus.  There was no stopping the Kingdom when it came in Christ.  Crucifixion did not stop it.  Rome failed as well.  Satan came up short.  And history has not halted the Kingdom’s march and progress.  We are still seeing the Kingdom break into places that are dark, lost and hurting even today.
            Third, we see that repentance cannot wait.  We are to deal with sin swiftly and sincerely.  We are not to allow it to accumulate in our lives.  When we repent, we leave sin behind and we replace it with the good news that Jesus came to offer us.  And this good news translates into a good and new life.  Never sign a peace-treaty with sin.  Resist it. Repent of it.  Refrain from it.  Fourth, this new life leads to a new mission—becoming a fisher of men and women.  We seek to draw others to Christ like a fisherman enjoys reeling in the daily catch.  We live to bring glory to Him and to make His gospel known far and wide.  Jesus commanded His first disciples to “come” and to “follow” Him.  The same command stands today—we are beckoned to come to Christ and Christ alone, leaving behind all other things.  And We are beckoned to follow Him—no turning back and even if no one chooses to go with us.  We follow Him—unwaveringly and unreservedly.  Now that is urgency and immediacy!  Have a great Thursday!

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