Sunday, January 11, 2015

THE BEGINNING of the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST: SCS No. 33

Sistine Chapel Ceiling Left

Sunday, January 11, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 33

(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life.)

Scripture for Today:
Mark 1:1-15 English Standard Version (ESV)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
   who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
   ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight,’”
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 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.”
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”



Sermon for Today:

Scholars argue over when the Gospel According to Mark was written and what sources were used.  They argue over who wrote the Gospel.  I do not have all these questions running around in my head.  It is clear to me after years of study, reflection and prayer that the Gospel According to Mark was the earliest Gospel written and it is certainly the most concise and to the point.  That is why I have chosen it to study for the next few weeks in these sermonettes.  I know I need to take a refresher course in the plain Gospel story.  It is the Gospel story that can change lives and changed lives can change the world.

We have witnessed evil acts around the world over the past few weeks.  People murdered in the name of some ideology that I certainly can not comprehend and I am not sure they fully do themselves.  What I do know is that drones and air strikes will not convince them to stop, but the Gospel story and the Holy Spirit does have the power to stop a murderer in their tracks.  Saul was stopped dead in his tracks and turned into Paul.

In our scripture lesson today we see John the Baptist calling people to repentance, Jesus being baptized, Jesus being tempted in the desert and then Jesus preaching the Gospel.  Fifteen verses packed full of action.  That is how the Gospel according to Mark starts.

Repent, believe, baptism, Gospel and Son of God are the themes of these fifteen verses and they will remain the themes of the rest of Mark.  They are the saving message for our day just as they were for the days Jesus walked this earth.  We need to absorb the Gospel story deep in our hearts and learn to live it so others might see Jesus in us and want to seek Him themselves.

Prayer for Today:

Father, May the Gospel story come so alive in us that Your Son comes alive to the world around each of us.  For we know you sent Him for all peoples  and He gave His all that all of us might have life forever more if only we find Him, the Way.  It is in His name I pray. Amen.


© Ed Cooper, January 11, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

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