Focal passage: Mark 1:9-20
A well-known Christian theologian, Augustine, wrote about his conversion in his famous book Confessions. In the book, written as a prayer, he described God’s power to save, despite his initial reluctance to accepting Christ. He wrote, “I had no answer when you called me saying, ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’”
A Christian friend had come to see him. Upon discussing God’s Word, he listened intently and it caused a great inner struggle. He confessed his inner turmoil: “‘The Way,’ Jesus, the Savior, pleased me well, but I was still reluctant to pass through the narrow gate.”
As he withdrew to find solitude, he reflected deeply and eventually surrendered his heart to repent and believe. What Augustine experienced in God’s call to salvation – repentance and belief – is exactly what Jesus called for in Mark 1:15.
The first verses of Mark identify who Jesus is. Mark also shows how John the Baptist prepared the way for the messiah, and emphasizes one of the key themes throughout the book: Christ’s power.
A prime example of Christ’s power can be observed in verse two, as Mark quotes Isaiah the prophet, saying, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way.”
As the text introduces John the Baptist, Christ’s forerunner, it prepares us to meet Jesus Christ. As John is a messenger, so is Jesus (Hebrews 3:1). As John is showing people the way, Christ is “the Way” (John 14:6).
The “good news” of salvation also connects to disciple-making activity, which is another major theme throughout the book of Mark. John the Baptist made disciples (Luke 7:18) as well as Jesus (Mark 1:17, 20).
As the narrative unfolds, we the readers find ourselves engaged and needing to respond to two themes connected to the good news: a decision to follow “the way of the Lord” and the act of disciple-making.
Will you respond to God’s call?