4 June 2010

Mark 1:1-13

"And just as (Jesus) was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'" (v.10-11)


In Rome, about 65 AD, it is widely believed by scholars that Saint Mark wrote the earliest of the four Gospels (probably with first-hand knowledge from Peter the Apostle). Mark's version of the good news (the gospel) begins with the preaching ministry of John the Baptist. Mark sees John as the messenger foretold by Isaiah (40:3-5) who heralds the coming of the Messiah (God's anointed and chosen leader).

John the Baptist makes it clear that anyone hoping to be part of the community of the Messiah must be seriously prepared beforehand. This involves personal and public sorrow for past sins. As an outward sign of sorrow and readiness those responding to John's message are invited to be baptized in the River Jordan.

This is the climax of John's life's work. Jesus is now beginning his public ministry. This is one of the great 'Trinity moments' in the Gospels: God the Son is anointed by the gift of God the Holy Spirit and hears the voice of God the Father.

To Ponder

Have you ever felt, like John the Baptist in this passage or Winston Churchill in 1939 that, "All my life was a preparation for this moment"? What was the moment?

John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism said, "Repentance is the porch of true religion". What do these words mean to you? Have you ever seriously repented of your sins and sought a new beginning with God?

Saint Irenaeus (c.130 - c.200 AD) speaks of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as the "two hands" of God the Father, and writes that in everything God the Father does both hands are used at once. To what extent can you relate to this?

Bible notes author

The Revd Prebendary Norman Wallwork

Norman Wallwork is a supernumerary Methodist minister and a retail chaplain in central Exeter. He is also a prebendary or canon of Wells Cathedral.