For my second week as a guest pastor for my dear friend, Steve Smith, I decided to preach on another great set of verses in the Bible. While we are all familiar with the creation story in Genesis 1:1-2, there are also two other books of the Bible that start with verses on beginnings.
John 1:1 starts out with the fact that the Word (Jesus) was there in the beginning with God the Father. This predates the Genesis beginning in that in John’s Gospel we are introduced to what is referred to as the “ex nihilo” beginning – something from nothing. As far as we can understand with our feeble human minds, this is where it all first happened. Jesus and God starting it all – from nothingness.
It is only in Genesis 1 that we realize God desired to create mankind in His image and created the heavens and the earth as a perfect “nest” for man to exist with God. At the beginning of Genesis, Moses tells us the creation story about the forming of the earth during the first three days and then the filling of the earth, the cosmos, the next three days.
This would have been important to the Israelites who had just crossed the Red Sea after leaving Egypt as they were being pursued by the chariots and soldiers of Pharaoh. This must have been terrifying to see the parting of the Red Sea, even if it was their way to freedom.
Many theologians believe that Moses wrote Genesis to teach the people that the same God who had just saved them was the same God who was the Creator of everything. In fact, nothing would have been more frightening to the people of God than a deep, watery, dark, abyss – the kind of powerful force that had just annihilated the Egyptian army. But I think that Moses had another objective – to affirm that God is constant and trustworthy – even though they had been in captivity for more than 400 years during their time in Egypt.
The Old Testament is the story of God’s people before the physical coming of Jesus in the New Testament. While all the Gospels are full of stories, parables and teachings of Jesus, Mark is the one who announces the time of Jesus and “the beginning” of His story. So this is the third beginning we can study in the Scripture.
Most Christians know that God chose to reveal more of Himself as He interacted with His people throughout the Bible. First, we had God the Father, a Spirit, above us during the Exodus and throughout His relationship with His people. Then, John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus – God in human form – fully man and yet fully God as well.
So we had God above us, and with Jesus, God walking among us… and then, after the resurrection, Jesus announced that he would be ascending to the Father but another would be sent in His place. This was the Holy Spirit and every believer knows that when they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life, the Holy Spirit actually dwells IN them. So, now we have God above us, God among us and with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God in us. How cool is that!
Now, there is one last beginning that we can discuss as well. That is a new beginning when we are “born again” and accept the gift of eternal life… that is our final beginning – from then on, eternity awaits and we have already started our eternal lives.
Our verse for tonight is simply the verse from Mark 1:1 that tells us a new beginning has arrived – Jesus. Mark was a man of few words – he believed in just telling the facts. So, he tells us, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
From there, we learn about the life of our Savior. My encouragement this evening is that God continues to reveal Himself to us in new and exciting ways. My prayer is that we will all ponder the three beginnings that the Scripture teaches us and, finally, how we each have a new beginning that will last throughout all eternity. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…