Theme: Jesus the servant
Theme verse: For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister (to be a servant), and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10.45
I just love the way that Mark starts his gospel.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. Mark 1.1-8
In contrast to the other gospels, there is no lineage. There is no birth, no background. Jesus the servant has no need for a lineage. No one cares about the lineage of servants. And at the same time, Mark clarifies, Jesus is the Son of God. What a beautiful beginning, Jesus the Son of God has come to serve. But before Jesus could come, another servant must rise. The cousin of Jesus, the humble, yet bold preacher and prophet John the Baptist. It is quite fitting that the good news begins with the fulfillment of the prophet written in the prophets. (Isaiah 40.3, Malachi 3.1) The good news, God is speaking again, he is silent no longer. He is about to share His loudest message.
John assembles the sinners and urges them to repent of their sins. He is not the voice of the religious and pious Jews. He is the one crying in the wilderness, apart, far away from all of the superficial and pious religious leaders, the leaders who love the law more than God and more than the people. John loves the people and manifests his love by encouraging internal repentance rather than sacrifice and offerings. John doesn’t boast about himself and his own efforts or ministry. He boasts about the One who is coming, the One who offers the better baptism. John is not even worthy to loosen his shoes, little did he know; he was the one who would baptize Jesus, a privilege for sure. Jesus becomes a servant in order to serve His own creation. It does seem like a contradiction doesn’t it? The Son of God a servant, I’m glad.