The Beginning of the Good News…
By Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way” —
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’” –Mark 1: 1-3
I was struck by the first verse of this week’s Gospel lesson—specifically the words—”The Beginning of the Good News…”
The text seems to imply that the beginning of the good news was John the Baptist’s message and work to prepare the way for Christ to come into the world.
But if that was the beginning—as Paul Harvey was so famous for asking—what’s the rest of the story.
Well, for me at least, the rest of the good news went something like this:
- John the Baptist Prepared
- Jesus came into the World
- Jesus loved the world
- Jesus allowed himself to be a sacrifice for the world
- Jesus overcame the grave as a promise for those who are willing to accept his love
- As we claim that promise in our lives, we live in hope of the fulfillment of that promise
- Someday, we shall claim that promise
Jesus and God did all the work after John prepared the way! But it all began with someone preparing the way for Jesus to come into the first century world of Israel.
Who prepared the way for Jesus to enter into your world?
For whom have you been the one who prepared the way for Jesus?
Who might you need to be the one? A friend? A loved one? Or maybe even for yourself?
And how do you prepare the way? Well, according to the words of John the Baptist it is simply to issue a call to repentance… to a turning from the wrong direction we have been headed to the new direction that intersects with Christ.
And given the world we are living in now, seems like there is a whole lot of repenting that ought to be going on!
Prayer: Lord, help us to prepare the way for your entry into our worlds. Let us prepare the way not only for your entry into our personal worlds, but into the worlds of others with whom we have presence. Use us, Lord, as you used John the Baptist long ago to begin the good news in the lives of others. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran