Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Beginning of the Good News

Mark 1:1-8
Lent starts today, Ash Wednesday, according the Catholic calendar. And for the past years, I have not followed the prescription of Lent, the fasting, the ashes, etc.

But this year, I feel called to a fast and when I asked the Lord about it, it feels like this is what He has called me to. A fast of daily devotion to His Word and to write about the story, the beginning of the Good News--the Gospel. And so I picked Mark, the Gospel that starts with John the Baptist and the beginning of Jesus' ministry, to take this daily journey and to write this devotional of sorts.

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer. And so we begin with Mark 1, when John the Baptism prepares the way for the coming of Jesus. John begins with a call to repentance, which the Amplified Bible defines as a change of one's mind for the better, heartily amending one's ways, with abhorrence of his past sins. Sounds like a message that would be unpopular, but throngs of people came from Judea not only to hear John, but to submit themselves to his baptism.

When God created the world, He spoke it into being with His words. All of creation was formed in this way. Then with man, God formed him lovingly with His own hands and then blew the breath of Life into his nostrils. And all of creation obeys God's words, except for us, His crowning creation, made in His image. Instead, we all have gone astray.

And in the great act of mercy and love, He comes to find us and restore us as Jesus, a poor man and holy God. But before Jesus makes His way onto the center stage, John the Baptist is sent to prepare a people for Him to hear His words of truth and grace.

"The real action comes next," John told the crowd. "The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life. I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out." (Mark 1:7-8 MSG)

Repent. To turn from going our way to His way. Maybe the crowd was tired of the futility of going their own ways. Maybe many were ripe for a savior. I know I am. Led into the water by a man who was humble and truthful, they went, and so too, I want to go. I want this life change, life exchange, my old life for new. I want to experience the breakthrough of truly hating my sins enough to leave them.

Beloved, Jesus, only Your Spirit can do this in my life! Blow on me too, help me repent and follow Your word, as You intended all creation to. Change me too from the inside out! Amen.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Here are all the posts on this journey:

You are My Beloved Son; in You I am well pleased - Mark 1:9-45
That you may know - Mark 2:1-12
side with My party - Mark 2:13-17
new wine and new wineskins - Mark 2:18-28
Sabbath Best - Mark 3:1-6
He would send them out to proclaim the Word - Mark 3:7-35
the worries of this life - Mark 4:1-20
If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. - Mark 4:21-34
Who is this? - Mark 4:35-41
Tell them everything the Lord has done for you - Mark 5:1-20
You took a risk of faith - Mark 5:21-43
He’s just a carpenter - Mark 6:1-6
telling everyone they met - Mark 6:7-13
His head on a platter - Mark 6:14-29
as many as touched Him were restored - Mark 6:30-56
It comes from within - Mark 7:1-23
she kept begging Him - Mark 7:24-37
He had spit on the man’s eyes  - Mark 8:1-26
My way, to saving yourself, your true self - Mark 8:27-38
be treated with utter contempt - Mark 9:1-13
His face and person yet glistening - Mark 9:14-29
take last place and be the servant of everyone else - Mark 9:30-50
simplicity of a child - Mark 10:1-15
Sell everything - Mark 10:17-31
the highest places of honor - Mark 10:32-45
Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder - Mark 10:46-52
Hosanna in the highest! - Mark 11:1-26
Show us your credentials - Mark 11:27-33
Come, let us kill Him - Mark 12:1-12
much more than burnt offerings -Mark 12:13-24
she gave extravagantly...she gave her all - Mark 12:35-44
Stay at your post. Keep Watch. - Mark 13
and they prepared the Passover meal - Mark 14
Crucify Him! - Mark 15:1-39
a very large stone against the door of the tomb - Mark 15:40-47
He Has Risen! - Mark 16:1-8
So Celebrate This Festival - Exodus 13-14

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