December 4

December 4, 2020
by Pastor Jim Cords
The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God…

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 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. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 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. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 1:1-8

This year (church year) we will spend many of our Sundays hearing the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed in the words of Mark’s account. It is likely the first written of the four Gospels and may very well have been the basis of both Matthew and Luke’s account. I believe most of us have in our heads and hearts what is called a harmony of the Gospels. This means that we have combined the four different accounts into one story in our minds, melding them together. This is not a bad thing, but it is also good to understand and hear the uniqueness of each gospel account.

I actually love the way Mark starts his gospel. Not that I am choosing between the 4 gospel writers, but as I appreciate how Mark expresses the story of Jesus in his unique way, I am blessed. I like to read this beginning as an acknowledgment that even though Mark writes after the resurrection of Jesus, he is aware that the good news of Jesus continues, this account is just the beginning.

I believe that today we are a part of God’s continually unfolding Good News. I often feel a very strong sense of honor to be included with you as a servant and proclaimer of this good news to the world.

The other thing I have learned to see and remember in these opening words of Mark’s gospel is that the Good News IS ABOUT JESUS. It can be too easy to make the church about other things… our buildings, our music, our good and benevolent acts toward others. What we do as a church and as individual Christians is truly very important, but it is most important when we and others understand that our lives and our witness IS ABOUT JESUS. It is his love that enables our love. It is his forgiveness and sacrifice that enables our forgiveness and sacrifice for others. It is what Jesus did for us and the world on the cross that brings about our hope, our eternity, and that same hope and eternity we are privileged to invite others to enjoy.

I am praying that God will continue to help us to discover unique ways to unfold the story of Jesus through us in these COVID restricted days. It seems pretty clear that the world needs the hope that Jesus brings now as much as it ever has.

Celebrate your part in this continuation of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God…

And in fact… let’s celebrate it as we live it together.

Serving with you in Christ,

Pastor Jim Cords

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