October 29th, 2006
Most people reach a point in their lives where they feel like slaves. The world seems to be turning relentlessly, and they are trapped in a situation of seemingly endless toil with no relief in sight. If there is no God, then perhaps there is no hope of things changing. People grind out an existence for a short lifetime, then are no more. But what if the ancient prophecies are true? What if a messiah is coming to bring light into a dark world, to set prisoners free from slavery? And what if we are now living in the times predicted long ago, and our seemingly unimportant daily activities are actually part of something much larger?
Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 1
1:1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ. 1:2 Isaiah the prophet predicted: “I send my messenger before you, who will prepare your way. 1:3 Someone’s voice shouting in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord! Straighten the roads for him!'”
1:4 John the Baptist came to the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. 1:5 People from all over the region of Judea and from Jerusalem went out to him to be baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. 1:6 John wore camel’s hair clothing and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 1:7 He announced, “Someone more powerful is coming after me. I am not worthy to bend down to untie his sandal straps. 1:8 I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”
1:9 And then Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan. 1:10 As he came up out of the water he saw the heavens split open and the Spirit coming down to him like a dove. 1:11 A voice came out of the heavens, “You are my beloved Son. I am very pleased with you.”
1:12 Straight away the Spirit sent him into the desert, 1:13 where he stayed for forty days and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals and the angels were looking after him.
1:14 After John had been imprisoned Jesus came to Galilee, announcing the good news of the kingdom of God, 1:15 “The time has come for the kingdom of God to arrive! Repent and believe in the good news.”
1:16 As he walked beside the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and Simon’s brother Andrew, who were fishermen, casting a net into the sea. 1:17 Jesus said, “Follow me. I will make you fishers for men.”
1:18 They left their nets at once to follow him. 1:19 A little further on Jesus saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John, also in the boat mending the nets. 1:20 He called them right away and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired assistants and went after him. 1:21 They went to Capernaum, and on the Sabbath day he went and taught in the synagogue. 1:22 People were amazed at his teaching because he taught with authority, and not like the religious lawyers. 1:23 A man with an unclean spirit was present in the synagogue just then, and he shouted, 1:24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are, the Holy One of God!” 1:25 Jesus rebuked him, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
1:26 The unclean spirit threw him around and then with a great shout came out of him. 1:27 Amazed by this the people asked themselves, “What is this? A new teaching? He speaks in an authoritative manner even to unclean spirits, and they obey him!” 1:28 News about him spread like wildfire throughout the district of Galilee.
1:29 After leaving the synagogue they arrived with James and John at Simon and Andrew’s house. 1:30 They mentioned to Jesus that Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. 1:31 He went and took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them. 1:32 After the sun had set that evening, all sorts of sick and demon-possessed people were brought to him. 1:33 The whole town was assembled outside the door. 1:34 He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. He didn’t permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
1:35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he arose and left for a deserted place to pray there. 1:36 Simon and some others hunted him down. 1:37 They found him and said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
1:38 He answered, “Let’s go to some other towns, so that I can preach there as well, because that’s the reason I came.” 1:39 He visited synagogues throughout Galilee, preaching and casting out demons.
1:40 A man suffering from leprosy came and knelt down before him, begging, “If you want to, you can make me clean.”
1:41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him, “I want to. Be clean.” 1:42 As soon as he said this, the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 1:43 Jesus sent him away at once with strict instructions, 1:44 “Don’t say anything to anybody, but go show yourself to the priest, and give the offering for your cleansing which Moses commanded, as a witness to them.”
1:45 But he went out, and began to tell people all about it and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly visit a town. Instead he stayed out in secluded places, and people came to him from everywhere.
Entry Filed under: Hope