The Beginning of the Gospel

By Not Known

It is interesting that Mark did not begin the Gospel from the birth of Jesus Christ.  Neither did John when he began his Gospel from the beginning of time – when the Word “was with God in the beginning” (Jn 1:2). Instead, Mark began from Isaiah’s prophecy where the word of God foretold the messenger, John the Baptist preparing “the way of the Lord” and making “straight paths for Him.“ (Mk 1:3).  

Mark did not begin “naturally” with Jesus’ birth story but he emphasized testimonies − beginning with that of Isaiah (assuming the continuation of a long line of Hebrew prophets in Israel’s history) and ending with John the Baptist.  Then came the testimonies of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit culminating in the epitome of all testimonies.   

Do you see a line of continuity between the message John the Baptist preached (v4) and the message our Lord preached (v15)?  The emphasis on repentance cannot escape our notice. Is repentance a feature in the message we believe in and in the message we preach today?

In much of our preaching, we avoid calling people to repentance, saying that it is outmoded and that God’s message is about love ― anything else is superfluous.  So the Gospel we preach does not emphasize a turning away from our sins with a resolution not to sin again.  Is that the reason why we see people becoming Christians without a corresponding transformation in their lives today?     

There is only one Gospel ― that which is found in the word of God and that of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Have we been preaching the repentance-less variety that does not result in transformation of life?


Joseph Teng