Saturday, January 31, 2015

the gospel

Who is Jesus?  What does He ask of His followers? What does it mean to be a Christian?

These are the kinds of questions people were asking in the 1st century. They are the questions people continue to ask today.

This is precisely why Mark wrote his Gospel – to answer these questions and to help second generation Christians being persecuted know how their faith began, know the truth of what they believed, and find comfort and strength in the midst of their sufferings.

Mark writes his Gospel to remind his fellow Christians that it's all true. It really happened, just as God planned, just as Jesus said, just as you have been taught. And it's not only true, it's true for you, and it's something worth living, suffering, and even dying for.

Up until the time the Gospels were written and the New Testament was completed, Christians came together to gather and worship without a complete Bible. They did not yet have the entire written Word. They relied on the oral tradition, on sermons, teachings, and stories told them by other believers to learn about Jesus.

That’s where Mark’s Gospel comes in. Mark writes his Gospel to chronicle the origin of the Christian faith. Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was written somewhere around 60 AD, which puts it at about thirty years after Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Mark was not an eyewitness to Jesus, so he writes himself as a second generation Christian. But ancient sources tell us that Mark based his story on the recollections of the apostle Peter. Mark was Peter’s personal assistant, so he was familiar with the sermons and stories Peter told. And Peter was an eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Mark begins with these words - "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

In other words, this is what its all about. This is what's important, the foundation, the standard, the primary stuff of the gospel. And its not just the first sentence, or the first chapter, but really the entire book of Mark can be seen as the "beginning of the Gospel".  For this book is only the beginning of the gospel. There is much more still to come. The end has not yet here. The story continues ... and goes on and on as the good news of Jesus is proclaimed to all nations.

"The kingdom of God is here - repent and believe the good news."


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