Friday is the beginning of summer, 2013 – the day of the summer solstice as it is sometimes called. And we will be in the summer season until we arrive at the official beginning of fall in late September. Our Bible study group was going to study the book of Mark this summer, before we decided to wait and continue our hiatus until after Labor Day and I coincidentally noticed that the first verse of Mark has to do with a beginning.
I thought it might be interesting to research “beginnings” in the Bible and for all intents and purposes, there are three really significant beginnings that we, as Christians, refer to. The first one is the beginning of everything, if you can call it that… We are told in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” Our feeble minds can’t even begin to understand the depth of this statement – because we can’t fathom that God has always existed. We are confined to the physical universe and the concept of “ex nihilo” (something from nothing) is too complex for us to really understand. We are told that God has always been – so the idea of a “beginning” was used by John to try to explain God to us in terms that let us know that God and Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) have always been together.
The second “beginning” is in Genesis 1:1. The first verse of the Scripture tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth was formless and void and the Spirit hovered over the surface of the deep…” This “beginning” has to do with the beginning of creation as we know it – the time in history that God decided to build the perfect environment for his greatest creation – Mankind. Yes, it is true that God created the angels, the first created beings, but the Bible tells us that while angels have many ministries, they eventually will be lower than Man in heaven. They worship God and look over us, as well as carry messages from heaven; but God has decided that they will also serve believers in heaven. What a loving God that creates beings to watch over us in one world and then serve us in another!
The third “beginning” is the one that we read about in Mark 1:1 (notice all the “beginnings are in the first verse of the first chapter of their respective books?) In Mark’s Gospel, written to the Romans, Mark opens his book with the announcement, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Notice how this is different from the others? This book is about the story of the human Jesus – the one who came to earth as a man and lived and walked among us for more than 30 years of His earthly ministry. It is distinctly different from John 1:1 – the “ex nihilo” beginning, and also different from the creation of the physical world we find in Gen. 1:1… Arguably, the verse from Mark 1:1, our verse for the evening, is the most important one of the three.
That’s because the human Jesus laid down his life for everyone and without this act of sacrifice – the ultimate substitutionary blood atonement – once for the sins of everyone for all eternity, we would not have a way to reconnect with God in heaven. So there you have it – the stories of the three beginnings. Notice that they constitute a love story whereby God becomes a more personal God – revealing more of Himself to us with each “beginning.”
My encouragement this evening is that you will encourage people in your life to a life of new beginnings – a life full of hope and promise in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. My prayer is that you will appreciate all the new beginnings in your life and will thank God that He loved us enough to send us His Son, thereby allowing Mark to announce the greatest “beginning” ever – the arrival, in human form, of the Son of God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…