FROM NOW UNTIL ABOUT THE END OF THE SUMMER, THIS BLOG WILL BE CONCENTRATING ON THE GOSPEL OF MARK. I WILL BE GLEANING FROM JOHN CALVIN'S HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS HIS COMMENTARY AS IT RELATES SPECIFICALLY TO MARK IN ABRIDGED OR SUMMARY FORM. AGAIN, THIS IS WRITTEN FRESH EACH MORNING IN 2010.
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way" — 3 "a voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.' " (Mark 1:1-3)
John Calvin's abridged commentary: Mark begins his gospel with the preaching of John the Baptist, for here the Law and the Prophets come to an end (Jn. 1:17; Lk. 16:16). He quotes from the last of the true and lawful prophets, Malachi (3:1 and 4:5). In order to inflame the minds of his people with a stronger desire for salvation, the Lord determined to leave them, for a time, without new prophecies. This passage (Malachi 3:1) specifically describes John the Baptist for he drew a distinction between the Law and the new order of the Church. The Lord promises in Malachi (3:1 and 4:5) a better condition for his Church than existed under the Law, and the unquestioned beginning of the Gospel. But before the Lord came to restore the Church a forerunner or herald was to come, and announce that he was close by. So the law ended and the Gospel began (strictly speaking) when John began to preach.
Thoughts: God pops out in the most surprising places. The wilderness (eremo in Greek) is a desolate, abandoned, isolated place. The wilderness in southern Judea where John preached was basically a semi-desert. Surprisingly, it was in this desert of sand that John washed people. It is often when we are thirsty that we begin to look for what quenches that eternal thirst. When we are dry, isolated, alone- and all the things that distract us are wiped away by the sands of life- that we can hear a voice. There are not many other sounds in a desert. This is often the time God comes to us. Today there are so many distractions (TV, internet, email, spam, all kinds of sports and entertainment, things that may numb us to reality). But when trouble-our wilderness- comes, we begin to look for the good news (the Gospel). When oil spills, terrorist threats, war, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, family troubles come- if you sit up and listen you may hear God's voice speaking through the Holy Spirit speaking through scripture to us- with good news.
Prayer: Today, Lord, may I find in my wilderness your hope, your strength.