Throughout the month of December, I’m focusing on the Person of Jesus. To some extent we always do that, of course, but each week this month I’m focusing more intentionally on some aspect of his character or role.
Mark wastes no time, as is his habit. Matthew starts with a genealogy, Luke includes a lengthy birth narrative, and John goes all the way back to creation. In contrast, Mark just immediately starts in on Jesus. It’s almost like he’s thinking, “Look–what you need to know is Jesus, so let’s get to it.”
An important thing in a place like America–where there’s interest in Jesus but sometimes the interest is very commercialized and superficial–is for people to see Jesus for what and who he is. At Christmas, people–even some secular people–get infatuated with the Christmas story of a baby born in a manger who grew up to change the world.
And then they forget. The story doesn’t change them because they never actually meet Jesus.
Mark skips the birth of Jesus and introduces him as Lord and King. He does so by connecting prophecies made years earlier about one who would come to prepare the way for the Messiah. And then, as he points us to John, the focus is on Jesus as King who demands a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” and who would baptize “with the Holy Spirit.”
People need to meet Jesus in all his glory, and that’s what John set out to do. And what’s what we need to do as well.