Mark doesn't exactly leave us in suspense as he begins his gospel account—he tells us exactly what he believes and what he's writing about straight up front: the good news about Jesus, the king.
This is the king who was promised in the Old Testament, the one would come bringing both judgement and salvation through forgiveness of sin. As John the Baptist arrives, looking very much like the promised messenger and proclaiming that forgiveness, an entire nation gathers - the sense of anticipation is huge; something massive is happening here!
Then Jesus arrives on the scene. At his baptism, he receives God's seal of approval. Next we see him going out to battle Satan—a sign of things to come perhaps? Finally, Jesus announces the big news: the king is bringing the kingdom of God!
It's a fast paced opening to Mark's book, and a number of questions remain: what is this kingdom going to look like? Who will be included in it? What kind of king is Jesus going to be like? And what is this good news?
These questions are answered as you read on in the gospel.
Questions to ponder
- What does Mark want our attitude to be towards what follows in his gospel?
- Given this start, what are we expecting the rest of the gospel to be about?
- Why are we tempted not to find the gospels exciting? Why are these verses so exciting?
- How do these verses challenge the way we think of Jesus?