Mark 1:1Amplified Bible
The Preaching of John the Baptist
1 The beginning of the [facts regarding the] good news of [a]Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
We humans love to hear and tell stories.
When our children are young they ask mommy and daddy to read them their bed time stories – they want and desire our presence before they go to sleep.
We tell them, we read to them the same stories which had become our favorite stories which our own parents read to us every night when we were that young.
Sometimes we looked to our Grand Parents to tell us the stories of their youth, when they were the ones who were our age – we love to hear how they grew up.
We love to hear of their experiences, we want to partake of their wisdom, how they had “fun” in their day, what music did they listen to, where did they travel.
Sometimes we go to our Grand Parents first instead of our parents because we have stories we believe in our hearts we cannot or could, should not tell them.
Perhaps we are in a place where we do not trust our parents with our stories.
Telling and Sharing our Stories breaks the monotony of the “ho-hums” and the “hum-drums” of our own thoughts, our excruciatingly boring circumstances.
We tell them at work about bosses who think too much of themselves.
We tell stories to friends who give us feedback with laughter or tears or other stories in return. We tell stories around kitchen tables with families and friends.
The man, Rabbi Jesus entered into the lives of those first century Jews just by quietly walking into the moment, so often without any formal announcement.
What we do not read in the Gospels is this man, this Rabbi Jesus, does not raise his hands, clap his hands loudly together or raise his voice – “Yo! Here I am!”
Subtlety is his hallmark way of introducing himself into the life of the moment.
Matthew 5:1-2Amplified Bible
The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes
5 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His [a]disciples came to Him. 2 Then He began to teach them, saying,…
Jesus “saw the crowds” and without shouting “Hey, everyone, I see you!” he quietly went up the mountain and he quietly sat down, His went to Him absent any verbal summons from their Rabbi’s mouth, then he began to ‘teach’ them.
Luke 4:14-21Amplified Bible
Jesus’ Public Ministry
14 Then Jesus went back to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and the news about Him spread through the entire region. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised and glorified and honored by all.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah),
Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),
to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].”
20 Then He rolled up the scroll [having stopped in the middle of the verse], gave it back to the attendant and sat down [to teach]; and the eyes of all those in the synagogue were [attentively] fixed on Him. 21 He began speaking to them: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing and in your presence.”
Coming out of His hardcore, deeply intimate temptation experience, He walked out of the wilderness, full of the Holy Spirit and straight into earthly ministry.
The “news abut him spread throughout the entire region …”
And he ‘began’ teaching in their synagogues …
He returned to his home in Nazareth, where he had been brought up and raised by His parents, His grandparents … heard their stories told and retold to him.
And “as was His custom …” “he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath …” and without him giving their leadership a chance to introduce him as an “Itinerant Rabbi” … he just quietly stood up … and instantly made his presence known.
Without any verbal or unspoken complaints for “being rude,” they handed Him the Scroll of God’s Prophet Isaiah, and without challenging Jesus’ credentials, they permitted him to take authority and full command of the sacred moment.
The man, Rabbi Jesus, without asking or saying “thank you” exercised that full and complete authority “granted (or surrendered) to him and read God’s Word.
John 1:1-5Amplified Bible
The Deity of Jesus Christ
1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and [b]the Word was God Himself. 2 He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. 3 All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. 4 In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines on in the [c]darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it].
We have these words from the Gospel Narrative from John …
“In the Beginning [before all time] ….”
Telling us in no uncertain terms, Jesus is THE WHOLE STORY …. has always been THE WHOLE STORY and Jesus will forever remain THE WHOLE STORY!
We have the relating of these stories from ‘the beginnings’ of the Gospel’s of Matthew and Mark and Luke and John in the hopes we will “enter into them.”
God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit place these stories in front of us – in the sure and constant hope – our lives will be changed by entry.
God enters our lives by way of the myriads and myriads of these biblical stories.
We become truly human by taking these Words of Jesus’ stories into our lives.
Author Karen Lee-Thorp aptly remarked, “Most of the Bible consists of stories. Why? Partly because God knew people that like and remember stories better than lists of abstract propositions. And even more important, the stories remind us that all of life is His story, and that God is never an abstract doctrine, but a Person.”
The Narrator Mark begins his gospel account with the story of Jesus, not moral principles or ethical concepts. We enter into life with Jesus by way of the first words of this story, we first find our Jesus in the story of God’s salvation for us.
John the Baptist begins the story by telling us about Jesus.
But John the Baptist is only a part of the preface of this great story that begins quietly but immediately proceeds, is about to not so quietly unfold before us!
So we find that the beginning story quickly moves on to tell about Jesus, the promised Messiah, and his saving message: the good news of God’s kingdom.
Every story about Jesus also helps us recognize our own stories of sin, grace, and blessing. The gospel is the main story, and it shapes the stories of us all.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God of surprises you call us
from the narrowness of our traditions
to new ways of being church,
from the captivities of our culture
to creative witness for justice,
from the smallness of our horizons
to the bigness of your vision.
Jesus, wounded healer, you call us
from preoccupation with our own histories
and hurts to daily tasks of peacemaking,
from privilege to pilgrimage,
from insularity to inclusive community.
Holy, transforming Spirit, you call us
from fear to faithfulness,
from clutter to clarity,
from a desire to control to deeper trust,
from the refusal to love to a readiness to risk.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.