1 – Mark 1:4-5 (ESV) 4John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
RAF: Let no one imagine a salvation that is aimed so as to leave us in our sins. Here we see that repentance from sins and the forgiveness of sins are directly tied to one another. The one coming to Christ must be made aware that they are being called to forsake this world and its ways, self and its dominance – to take up and follow Him. For it is only those who follow Him who will one day be with Him. This will be reinforced by Christ’s own teaching not much further into Mark’s Gospel.
2 – Mark 1:14-15 (ESV) 14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
RAF: Gospel preaching must deal with these central themes. 1. Christ’s Kingdom is dawning – Enter it. Become His subject, His citizen. 2. Amnesty is declared. He will forgive and receive all who come believing His message and turning from sin and self to Him. 3. All this, understanding that- He will yet judge all who refuse.
He comes as a King about to take possession of a conquered land and its people. He gives opportunity for those He is about to take possession of to side with Him and live under His rule and reign. To lay down their arms and become His subjects. He promises them forgiveness for how they warred against Him and didn’t want His rule – and how they have done that from the very beginning – against His Father’s rightful reign as well. They have lived in rebellion all these years – and still He is willing to have mercy and forgive, to grant grace and accept them as His own. And no one in that day would have missed how this works – having seen it in the geopolitical scene since the dawn of time. To those who would not receive Him – certain death was the only other option.
3 – Mark 1:16-20 (ESV) 16Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
RAF: As with all of us, Christ Jesus found these men:
a. Where they were.
b. Doing what they were doing.
c. Because they were who they were.
He find us:
a. In the world
c. Because we are sinners.
Then He promises to make us the real, or substance, of which we are but shadows at the present. We are but indistinct in our reflection of His image. He promises to recover that in us fully.