March 01, 2012

How Does the Good News Begin?

Mark 1:1-18

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God …
—Mark 1:1


The first six words of Mark’s gospel prompt the question “How does the good news begin?”

John the Baptist comes “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” and many respond by “confessing their sins.”

We soon read of Jesus’ being baptized, receiving the Father’s blessing, and then being sent to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Jesus resists the devil so effectively that Satan leaves him (Matthew 4:11).

Then Jesus begins preaching that “the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is that our Creator so loves us that he provides a way out of our miserable life of sin—through belief in Jesus. Before we can be saved, we have to admit we have been sinful. And when Jesus calls us to follow him, we have to leave our old life of sin behind. So he tells us, “Repent” (which means “turn around”), and “believe the good news” that God has made salvation possible. Then he says, “Come, follow me.”

Lent is a good time to go back to “the beginning of the good news,” recognizing that we are still capable of sin even though we believe in and follow Jesus. His Spirit is working in us, but (in this life) we are not yet made perfect.

Are there any sins you need to repent of today, so that you can follow Jesus more faithfully?

Father, in your love convict us of our sin—and assure us of your forgiveness. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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