Tuesday, January 3rd. Mark 1:1

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1

Welcome to a new year!  I hope you enjoyed the rest, the busyness, the memory making and all that goes into the Christmas season and that you are ready now to tackle whatever God brings our way in 2012.

For those of us worshiping in congregations that follow the Revised Common Lectionary of Sunday morning Bible readings, we are now in year B, the year of Mark (and big chunks of John).  As we move into this year, it seems a good idea to me to spend a significant amount of time in our daily devotions listening to what Mark has to say.

We’ll start today with a little background.

According to most Bible scholars, the Gospel of Mark was the first attempt in the early church to write down an account of the life and ministry of Jesus.  (We have to say “most” Bible scholars because those who devote their lives to such work often come across like economists in that much of what they do is disagree with one another.) 

It makes good sense to see Mark as the earliest written gospel.  It is the shortest and the tendency of later works would be to expand it rather than drop what it says.  Virtually all of Mark is included in the gospels of Matthew and Luke so it seems obvious that Mark would have been written first. 

No one is sure who wrote Mark, exactly when it was written, or exactly who the audience was for whom it was written.  The most common traditions suggest it was written sometime around or after the Jewish Civil War of 67-70 CE to a largely Gentile audience, perhaps in Rome, by John Mark, mentioned in Acts as a young man who served under Paul (Acts 12:12, 15:27).  Like all traditions, some of that might be close to reality and some just educated guesses.

As each of the four gospels were written after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the heart of Mark is responding to the big question, “What do we do with a Messiah who died?” 

Mark begins his answer with a short one sentence prologue that sets the context for what is to come.  He will be writing about Jesus Christ who he immediately declares to be the Son of God AND that what he says about Jesus will be good news.

As we leave behind the chaos of 2011, it will be good to begin 2012 with some good news.

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, thank you for seeing us into another new year and thank you for staying in touch with us through your Word.  As we begin listening anew to the gospel of Mark, we pray that you might speak good news into our lives.  We pray that this good news might make us new.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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3 Responses to “Tuesday, January 3rd. Mark 1:1”

  1. Melanie Says:

    Thank you for this educational information. It always helps bring the Bible alive to know the context in which it was written.
    Thank you also for your devotion and sacrifices to continue these Bible studies. They are greatly appreciated!
    The Blessings of Christmas be with you and yours now and forever,
    In His peace.

  2. Gloria Smith-Rockhold Says:

    Thanks for providing some background info on Mark. It will be a nice supplement to the Bible study in the WELCA magazine, Gather, that we are studying this year.

  3. Orlin Hanson Says:

    I believe this is one of most refreshing news I’ve had in a long time. I’ll be excited to get the daily BIBLE readings. Thank you Orlin Hanson, Bethany Towers Fargo, ND

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