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Mark 1:1-8

The Word of God

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
 who will prepare your way;
 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   “Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Mark 1:1-8
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • John the Baptist is a challenging figure. He calls us to examine ourselves, to discover and confess our sins. That is the way to real, deep, Christian joy.
    • We were baptised in water and the Holy Spirit. Remember the day and renew the promises made on your behalf.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Imagine yourself witnessing the scene, perhaps standing in the shallows, the water flowing around your ankles. Picture the scene and allow it to unfold. What is it like? The young man from Nazareth joins the queue waiting for John’s baptism: a symbol of purifying but also of birth – coming up out of the waters of the womb into a new life as God’s beloved child.
    • Lord, when I realise that you love me, and are well pleased with me, it is like the start of a new life. As I hear your voice, I know that I have a purpose and a destiny.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Mark paints a picture of a man who spends his public life doing good, but is then betrayed, abandoned, captured and crucified. How can this be ‘the Good News of Jesus Christ’? I ask to be shown how Jesus’ love transforms the pain and brings about the salvation of our world.
    • I mingle with the crowds listening to John the baptizer. I know that he too suffered a violent death. Where is the ‘good news’ in that? The good news is that he plays his part in the plan of salvation and bears steady witness to the light. In the wilderness of my life I ask that I may always witness to light and truth and love.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The attraction of John the Baptist is mysterious. People flocked to him, not to be flattered but to be told the truth. They listened because of what they saw, a man who was indifferent to the world's prizes, a man of minimal needs, who could not be bought by pleasures, comforts or money, but passionate about God. They recognised holiness.
    • Show me, Lord, what there is about my life that takes from the value of my words and makes me less convincing.
    • John the Baptist preached forgiveness. This is one of the special gifts of God, and one of the big celebrations of Advent. We are a forgiven people, and we welcome the forgiveness of God in our repentance. This means we are firstly grateful for forgiveness - that we do not have to carry forever the burden of our sin, meanness, faults and failings. God covers them over in mercy.
    • The second step of welcoming forgiveness is to try to do better in life - to move on from this sinfulness and meanness to a life of care, compassion, love and joy, and to make steps to forgive others.