“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.”
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’ ”
Mark 1:1-3 NKJV
John, whose message was repentance, was clothed with camel’s hair; and locusts and wild honey were, of necessity, his taste. People throughout Judea and those from Jerusalem came out to where he was based.
They sought to be baptized by John in the Jordan river, for the remission of their sins. But he spoke of One mightier coming, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit, which is where Mark’s story (account) of Jesus begins.
At that time, Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee came, and was baptized there, also, by John. When He came up out of the water, the heavens parted, and the Spirit descended upon…
this Son of Man and only begotten Son of God. Mark wrote that the Spirit came down “like a dove.” “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” were His Father’s words from heaven above.
Immediately afterward, the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness, where, for forty days…He was tempted by Satan, but never failed–Jesus always fully adhered to His Father’s ways.
After John was wickedly put into prison, Jesus began preaching the gospel in Galilee. He told the people to repent of their sins, and that it was through Him that they could be set free.
As Jesus walked by Galilee’s sea, he saw Simon and Andrew casting out a fishing net there. He told them He would make them fishers of men–the gospel would be theirs, as well, to share.
They left their nets to follow Him–then Jesus called James and John, two more. Leaving their father, Zebedee, and others in the boat, they joined the Lord upon the shore.
Heading into Capernaum, Jesus entered into the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach. He taught as One having authority, not as the scribes, when they would “preach.”
There was a man there, possessed with an unclean spirit, who cried out, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!” he said in an evil tone.
Jesus rebuked him and commanded the unclean spirit to be quiet and that it was to come out. Then the unclean spirit convulsed the man and left him, after it had made a defeated shout.
Everyone was amazed that Jesus could cause evil spirits to obey His bold command. Immediately His fame spread in Galilee–throughout all of that region’s land.
After that incident, Jesus entered the house of Simon, where Simon’s mother-in-law was lying down ill. Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up–the fever left her, for Jesus was carrying out His Father’s will.
To Jesus, that evening, after sunset, all who were sick or demon possessed were brought. The whole city was actually gathered there, for they’d heard of the miracles that He’d wrought.
The next morning, long before daylight, Jesus went out to a solitary place to pray. So Simon and others searched for Him. “Everyone is looking for You,” they told Him; but Jesus wasn’t led to stay.
“Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth,” He said. And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, casting out demons in more towns that were ahead.
At one point a leper came to Jesus, saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus was moved with compassion and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” Immediately, the leprosy was no longer seen.
Jesus warned him to say nothing to anyone but to go and show himself to the priest. But the man went out and shared his story freely–he was so happy at having been released.
Then, Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but had to go out to a deserted place. But people kept coming to Him from every direction, having heard He was pouring out God’s goodness and wonderful grace.
Poetry by P. A. Oltrogge (after the beginning Scripture verses)
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9
…and the following are from the book of Acts:
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.'” Acts 10:34-43
“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’
“Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:1-5