Mark 1:1 The Good News of God [Part 1]
Last updated: 28 Jan 2020 16:10
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
When I started this book with this verse, it is so easy to fire off with the best testimony of the gospel I could ever come up with. (And despite my lacking and imperfections in all of life and in such a description, my proclamation of the gospel will still be used mightily by God. But I digress.)
But look at the verse with me: beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The word ‘of’ indicates a belonging to or being part of something else. Instead of walking through this verse from start to ending, let us walk through the order of importance.
In other words, it is very important that we see that God, whose Son, Jesus Christ, owns this gospel and we are at the very beginning of Mark’s account.
Let’s start with answering the question, “Who is God?”. Now, without turnning this Commentary into a huge Systematic Theology, let us see if we can simply sum up God. As we know and as it has been revealed to us in the Scriptures, that God is:
simple - In other words, not complex. While God is the maker and giver of all things and the creator of complex items, He Himself is just is. Simple. A being.
self-sufficient - This is the aseity of God. God in Himself needs nothing outside of Himself to be and continue being God. He did not need something to make him God, as the Mormon claim their gods to be. He in himself is perfectly content with himself and needs nothing. So notice when you or other Christians claimed that God needed something or needed to do something. The sentiment is understandable because as humans, we need so many things in order to continue living. But not God. So we easily think that God needed us to fulfill something missing in him. But that is not God.
infinite might - In other words, there is no limitation in what God can do. It is not correct for us to say God needed us. More correctly, we can definitely say that God wanted us. From this omnipotence or what we call him as Almighty, his sovereignty and his freedom flows from this. Sovereign in that he rules and reigns over everything, of all times, everywhere with no exception. Freedom in that he is free to do whatever He pleases.
everywhere - His Holy Spirit moves throughout the earth as wind. His glory fills the earth. He is not confined just to the heavens or just in believer’s hearts. What is most amazing is that in the will, might, power, and freedom of the Son of God who is God was able contained himself to be a man in order to save mankind back to himself. In other words, as C.S. Lewis simplifies a quote from Athanasius: “The Son of God became man so that man might become sons of God.”
all-knowing - All truth comes from him. Moreso, he knows everything everywhere at all times. Moreso than that, He knows the hearts and minds of every single person everywhere of all times. There is nothing within us that we can hide from God. It would be foolish and ignorant to thing that God doesn’t know us ignorant and He is clearly aware of every single thought we have ever done.
love - This is an absolute declaration of Scripture that God is love. I John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. One of the great twisting of Scripture that we face at the moment is that mankind attempts to try to define love not by what God says is love but by their selfish and sinful desires and then ignorantly attempt to make God fit within that description. In other words, it is not God is love but rather, love is God. But that is not how that works at all.
grace - This is favor that is unearned and without entitlement. More than that, it is God who gives us grace upon grace. Our own sin and depravity does not outrun the grace of God. Corrie Ten Boom said it best, “There is no pit that is so deep that God’s love is deeper still.”
peace - This is a peace that even believers do not experience to its fullness–not on this side of heaven. This is peace that is without war, conflict, anxiety, worry, or troubles. God is the only one who lives in that peace and wherever He might be, He brings that peace.
righteousness - Some people rightfully declare this as right-standing. What is difficult to wrap our minds around is that we have lived in such brokenness, chaos, depravity, sin, death and shadow for so long that we cannot possibly imagine or fathom an actual reality where everything is fixed and works as intended. This is righteousness.
perfection - I am always hesitant to say words like inerrant, that is, without error, especially when it applies to God and His word. To say something is without error does not fully describe the thing. Not a thing is not a thing–it has to be a thing. Let me be clear: I do affirm the inerrancy of Scripture. But I would not say it that way: a more precise and correct way to say is that Scripture is perfect. And I know, in today’s culture, when we really enjoy something like food or a movie or even a circumstance, we would try to overemphasize just how much happiness it brought us by describing just how perfect it is. But just because we attempt to devalue a word in our incorrect usage of it does not mean perfect is still perfect in the absolute sense of the word. God is perfect.
just - Within God’s love, mercy, grace, righteousness, perfection, and all those things, we must know that God is just. We have a sense of that here on earth especially when we are constantly reminded that the world is filled to the brim with all sorts of injustices–social, racial, economic, and gender, just to name a few. I know that is good and right of us to fight those injustices and some of us are called to lay down our lives for it. However, if you are fighting with the good news of Jesus Christ our Savior, you are most certainly trying to bring a knife to a gunfight. Remember to bring His gospel into what you are doing for God alone is just.
good - One of the most head-scratchingest passages in the Bible comes from Jesus’s meeting with the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:17-18 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. But I am like, “But wait, isn’t Jesus God? And therefore, isn’t Jesus good?” What I have concluded is that Jesus, being God, was directly addressing the heart and the thoughts of the Rich, Young Ruler and wanted him to be acutely aware that Christ could not be reduced and regulated to just merely a good teacher as though Jesus is just a hair better than his Pharisaic peers. That if we are to engage with the God of the universe is that we have to fully recognize and surrender to the God’s definition of what good is and not our own definition.
Triune - One of the most simplistic doctrines in the Bible. Yet, there is no other teaching that has been used to twist and break up churches since Christ was here on earth. We are still dealing and refuting errors and heresies that have something to do with the Trinity. The idea is simple: God is Three in One not Three. While God is Father, Son, and Spirit, we know that Father is not Son and Son is not Spirit and Spirit is not Father. Yet, the Father, Son, and Spirit is fully God. Together they are God in One. Sinclair Ferguson explained it best: “If you take three people and put them into a room, there are three bodies, three minds, three hearts, and three wills. This is not so with God. If you put the Father, Son, and Spirit all in the same room, they would be different yet possess the same mind, same heart, and same will.” The Triuneness of God is that God was and will always be in perfect unity and community with one another. If God had nothing else but Himself, He would have everything and be perfectly content and perfectly God.
creator - God has always been and will always will be: John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. Nothing existed before Creation and God did not need anything in order to make something. He makes something out of nothing: Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. God created everything: Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
sustainer - Not only did God create all things, he is the sustainer of all things. Colossians 1:16-17 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. By the active will of God, all things are held together: your body, the earth, the chair you sit in–all things.
holy - This is another attribute of God that is hard for us to grasp because we don’t know what it means to be holy other than the rightful, truthful declaration that God’s people are holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). In his must-read, theological masterpiece, The Cross of Christ, John Stott sums up the holiness of God in one way that only we can relate to: with our sin. Because of God’s eternal and inheritant holiness, Stott contends, the cross of Christ marks God as God’s holiness shines brightest and cannot be overtaken by darkness and sin; God’s holiness infinite distance from sin; His holiness is unquenchable and all-consuming of sin and God’s holiness outright rejects and vomits out sin. Because of all that, we have a really hard time believing in tthe holiness of God–as though it is not as real as God makes it out to be.1
eternal - Before the creation of space and time, God was there. After sin and death and sadness are no more, God will still be there. Psalms 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Jesus declares: Revelation 1:8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
We should reflect on who God is and rejoice in his glory. He alone is worthy to be praised. That means that nothing else: not our spouses, our churches, our family, our jobs, our money–nothing at all– can be given thanks and praised because it is all His hand.
Give thanks to God for He is good!
- John Stott. The Cross of Christ. 20th Anniversary ed. IVP Books, 2006. 105-108. [return]