top of page
  • Writer's pictureLou Hernández


Updated: Oct 10, 2023



This story has been set in motion since the beginning of the OT, and its promise echoing throughout the entire history of Israel borne witness by their prophets

The promise has always been of deliverance and the way towards salvation and life flowing with milk and honey.

And this deliverance was to be achieved by and through the Messiah

  1. Promise of Scripture

The whole gospel of Mark is about A beginning

  • Just as all the 4 gospels are - though different beginnings

Matthew: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

  • Which I refer to as “The genesis of Jesus”

Mark: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Luke: … just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word…

  • Stated in verse 2

  • From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry

John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

  • Genesis 1:1

  • Before creation

Mark’s “beginning” is the beginning of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

And this beginning actually began way back when:

Exodus 23:20-21

20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.

Isaiah 40:3

3 A voice cries:

“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;

make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Malachi 3:1

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.

Through these 3 passages, we see the beginning of the gospel have been PROMISED since the Books of the Law, through the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets

  • The entire OT scripture

It connects to the fact that for Mark, the gospel is not a finished story

  • It has just begun.

  • The whole OT up to the 4 gospels of Matthew Mark, Luke and John, are part of the introduction of the gospel.

  • Even the end of the gospel of Mark shows this.

Gospel of Mark ends with chapter 16 with 20 verses.

  • But after verse 8, you’ll see a note that says:

  • [Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.]

  • Most biblical scholars believe the original ended at verse 8.

  • 3 women visit the tomb of Jesus and finds the stone rolled away, and angel tells them Jesus had risen, and to go tell the disciples that Jesus will see them soon.

  • And then verse 8 says,

    • And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


So in all probability, the book ends here. Which sounds very weird.

  • The later verses were probably added later to bring it in line with the rest of the gospel books of Matt, Luke and John.

Most commentators believe that Mark left the ending on this cliff hanger on purpose.

  • The gospel is to be continued.

  • This is not all of it.

  • Just the beginning.

The promise is of a MESSENGER, one who is in the wilderness, who will prepare the way for the Lord in verse 2 and 3,

  • is actually a mashup of the 3 OT passages from Exodus, Isaiah, and Micah.

  • It makes sense that the messenger is John the Baptist, who we read in verse 4 is literally working in the wilderness, teaching people to repent for the forgiveness of their sins, and baptizing them,

    • But his emphasis is that he is just the warm up, preparing people for Jesus

But Jesus is actually the ultimate messenger of God is He not?

  • Exodus 23:21 makes this very clear:

  • 20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.

This “angel” so no ordinary angel

  • He is to be obeyed

  • And He has the authority to pardon transgression. That is, forgive sins

  • And God’s name is in Him.

  • This can only be Jesus, who declared,

    • I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)

    • I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)

    • I am the Door (John 10:9)

    • I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)

    • I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)

    • I am the Way and the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)

    • I am the Vine (John 15:1,5)

  • The same identifier God used for Himself when Moses asked God what to say when people ask to know the name of God who sent him earlier in Exodus.

Jesus is the message, but He is also the messenger.

  • The bible shows us that Jesus has come to prepare the way for people - us - to follow Him

  • As was promised thousands of years ago.

To follow Jesus Christ out of the wilderness into the promised land.

2. Out of the Wilderness

The most famous and familiar image of the wilderness is probably the Exodus - when the Israelites left Egypt after God freed them with the 10 plagues

  • And it’s no doubt that this is the association all Jews made with the word and why Mark uses it so much in this passage

  • Why? What does it mean, what’s the significance?

  • You may have heard Christians use the word to describe difficult times of their lives

  • Or of having a wilderness experience

  • In the context of the Exodus, the time in the wilderness WAS a time of testing and perseverance

    • It was also the environment of learning - repentance, submission, and especially obedience to God

    • It was in the wilderness that all the laws to given to the people of Israel.

It’s interesting that when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery, it was into the wilderness first.

  • It almost seems like it’s a part of the way

John ministers in the wilderness, preaching and baptizing people in the Jordan, which is also very wild…

  • Remember Naaman in the OT, a Syrian commander who came to Elisha to be healed of leprosy scoffed at the idea of bathing in the Jordan

  • Why didn’t John preach in the cities?

  • He had people come out into the wilderness to be taught and baptized

  • I think part of the reason was to remove people from the bondages of their city lives

  • People’s “kingdom of comfort”

  • For the same reasons I mentioned earlier - to learn repentance and obedience.

  • Even Jesus goes through the similar experience, spending 40 days in the wilderness with wild animals, attacked with earthly temptations.

It’s not all bad to go through the wilderness.

  • Because in the wilderness we can be stripped of our comforts, pride and vanities.

  • For some, immigrating to a new country and culture was and is a wilderness experience

The gospel can take us into the wilderness in order to take us to the promised land.

The gospel is the reason we can follow Jesus.

Before we go on, I want to slow down a bit and unpack this word a little: gospel.

  • You’ve heard me use this word a few times, but what do I, people, the bible mean, with the word, “gospel”?

First, it can refer to the book of the story of Jesus Christ

  • There are 4 gospels - also called synoptic gospels

    • Synoptic meaning, a summary or outline of

    • The 4 gospels being Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

The main meaning of gospel though, as I already just mentioned, is the story of Jesus Christ

  • The message about Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.

  • Jesus’ words, deeds, death, and resurrection and what it all means as God’s act to save humankind.

  • Often interpreted as “good news”

  • So every sermon contains the gospel

Something we have to remember though, is that Mark was using the word, “gospel” before its “Christian meaning” was popularized

  • In fact, Mark’s original readers may have been surprised by the use of the word, and maybe even a little scandalized

  • The Greek word for gospel was commonly used in the context of declaring news of victory in the battlefield

  • And back then, the word gospel was most used for and closely associated with the Roman emperor and veneration or worship of the emperor in heaping praise and glory upon the emperor

Mark is taking a word used for idolatry and the worship of false gods and repurposing it for the true and divine King

  • In a sense, Mark is declaring the victory of Jesus Christ over the world of false gods

Mark is setting the stage for people to read over 16 chapters that Jesus Christ has come to bring the glory and Spirit of God, personally to each person.

  • That Jesus is the Son of God who came to die for the sins of humanity so that we can receive God’s forgiveness

  • And in rising back to life, Jesus guarantees us the same eternal life and full restoration of relationship with God

This kind of victory can only be achieved by a great and true king

3. The Return of the King

When Mark opens his book calling Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God - there are a few layers here to unpack

First, there are 2 “people” mentioned - Jesus and God.

  • Jesus is the Son of - God.

  • So then God is the one who sends the messenger - both John, all the prophets and even Jesus.

  • The message Jesus brings is the message directly from God

As we read in Exodus 23 and John especially highlights in his gospel, Jesus bears the name of God

-Meaning, Jesus bears the full will and authority of God the Father

  • The climax of the passage is verse 10-11

    • And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”.

  • But this communication from God is private - to Jesus only

  • “YOU are my beloved Son, with YOU I am well pleased.”

This title of beloved Son of God is mentioned 3 times in Mark and can be seen as markers in 3 different parts of the gospel.

  • The first, seen here is private between God and Jesus which comes after an anti-climactic introduction to Jesus

    • Jesus, the one mightier, whose sandals we are not worthy to untie, comes to get baptized with the rest of sinful humanity…

    • Something I’ve come to appreciate is that God never forces salvation down anyone’s throat

      • He never forces His grace and love on anyone

      • He never forces or threatens or intimidates anyone into repentance

  • The Son of God, who is the Saviour King almost sneaks into His Kingdom and He waits for people to recognize Him

    • As one commentator said, “Jesus appeared as un-powerful as a powerful one could get.”

But as the gospel progresses, Jesus’ identity is revealed more and more, by Jesus Himself and even God: as in Mark 9:7 after Jesus is transfigured.

  • “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

  • Now God addresses the disciples

Finally, and to show us the point all along, at the death of Jesus on the cross, a Roman Centurion, who had a direct hand in torturing and executing Him, declares in 15:39,

  • “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

The return of the King - Jesus, was intentionally drawn out

  • So it was ok that people didn’t fully realize.

  • Because it was the beginning of the gospel

  • And I believe it is this almost illogical way, that is the most effective for true salvation

  • The only way that someone who absolutely did not and would not believe in Jesus, comes to confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is poignant especially because Jesus did not come to simply reign and rule according to human ideas of royalty

-Jesus is THE CHRIST

-Meaning the holy (set apart), anointed one, Messiah, Saviour.

God’s mission and message embodied in His Son, Jesus was never about a physical and earthly kingdom.

  • Not merely salvation from one oppressive foreign power

    • Which can and will be replaced by another

God’s mission and message was for the eternal salvation of all people and creation.

  • Saved into abundant and everlasting life

  • So that we can have an eternal relationship with God.

And it was to this RELATIONSHIP that Jesus called His disciples and followers.

  • Not a nationalistic and patriotic revolution

  • Not a movement of change

But restoration of relationship between people and our Creator.

The Message of the Kingdom is one that was promised ages ago by God and the gospel message of His Son Jesus Christ draws us into an eternal relationship with God. This relationship is confirmed into a calling to continue the gospel of Jesus Christ as His disciples.

1 view


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page