Beginning With Jesus
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” — “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
At the beginning of each Star Wars movie, there is the “craw.” The crawl text describes the backstory and context of the film, then gets smaller as it moves higher on the screen, appearing to disappear in the distance. I’ll never forget seeing the “craw” for the first time. We’d not only be lost without it, but we’ve come to expect it.
There’s always a beginning. Things weren’t always the same, this way. They were different. If life and history started some place, then they are headed someplace.
Just like Genesis starts out “In the beginning,” so does this historical account about Jesus. Mark puts the most important topic right up front, and its exactly what we need, good news. He’s writing about what’s already happened, what can be reported on, what he saw or told by those who personally witnessed it.
And what’s this good news? Jesus the Messiah. This word, Messiah, isn’t exactly a common, every day, run-of-the-mill word. It’s not something you say every day, it’s not a word that’s on the top of your mind, something that you think about every day.
Messiah means God’s anointed. It points to a single person in history, never to be repeated again. It’s not like an organization that will have one CEO after another, It’s not like a kingdom that will have one king after another. It’s not like a country that will have one president or prime minister after another.
And while this Jesus is a man, he’s more than just a good man. He’s more than a messenger from God. He’s more than a prophet. He’s more than a priest. He’s more than a king. He’s more than a son of God. He’s more than all these put together, and more.
He’s fully God and fully man at the same time. He has equal status, power, knowledge, compassion, love, and grace as God in heaven above. He’s the one and only God who’s been living from eternity past. But he didn’t just stay there, far away. He entered this world at a particular time, being born as a baby. Lived a life that fully reflected his Godhood before dying.
Jesus, God’s son. Jesus, God’s savior. Jesus, God’s solution for our biggest problem. And our biggest, most serious problem is not the latest virus to attack our bodies, our computers, our phones.
Our most serious problem is our separation and isolation from God.
You’ve been in isolation for months, you’re wearing a mask in public, you don’t get near people in the store, you slather shopping carts and gas pumps with antiseptic wipes, some of you have been quarantined. You’ve either been forced or chosen to stay away from your friends, family, children, grandkids, coworkers.
As awful as this is, it’s nothing compared to our isolation from God. The one who made us, the one who always loves us, the only one who can repair our brokenness and isolation from him, each other, and the whole of creation.
But God didn’t just come down without any preparation. He sent someone to announce his coming. Someone to not just get things ready, but to get people ready before his coming. Someone to get people’s attention so they wouldn’t miss him.
As we start walking through Mark, are you ready to meet Jesus? Is your heart and mind in a position that you won’t miss him, or is life racing so hard and fast that you’d just blow right by him?
I know that you’re under tremendous pressures, being pushed and pulled in so many directions, by so many people, commitments, influences.
So, I’m going to make a big ask, an ask that’s not very popular, not very modern. I’m asking you to slow down and look at Jesus. Take your foot off the gas pedal of life and take a good, long look at Jesus. The only one in the history of the world that claimed to be God from eternity past.
His life and words were so unique, powerful, and revolutionary that if compelled men and women to drop everything and follow him. They found meaning, purpose and love in him. They found more than enough love through him to satisfy the deepest needs and longings of their souls.
Sounds like something you need? Something you want?