No, Not That One!
No, not Che Guevara, not Karl Marx, not Lenin, not Mao Tse-Tung, but Jesus. He is the author and hero of a revolution more widespread, more beneficial to mankind, more glorious and more costly (to Himself) than any political revolution in all this world's sad and turbulent history.
Straight to the Point
Mark's Gospel in the Bible's New Testament is the shortest account of Jesus' life, and possibly the earliest. Mark doesn't give us as much as the other Gospel's, but he does get to the heart of things. The first verse says The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.(NIV)
- gospel = "good news"
- Jesus = "Saviour"
- Christ = "Messiah", that is "the Promised One"
and to understand what these mean and why they are important, we need to go back into the Old Testament for a whirlwind tour of what led up to Jesus.
Fast Forward to the Past
- Remarkable Man Genesis 1 man. Its so easy to forget how remarkable a creature Man is. A flesh and blood animal (no, God is not ashamed of matter; He created it; He likes it), yet a thinking animal, and a thinking animal with a spirit from God Himself, able to love, give, dream, play, work, create, achieve, discover, know beauty, and know God the creator.
- Rebel Man Genesis 3 man. Yet he fell into pride, thinking he could be above God, his creator. For this he became...
- Ruined Man From utter happiness to fear and shame.
and by the end of the Old Testament record, to utter ruin among his descendants.
- Representative Man Modern man. We are all of us Adam's offspring, sharing his folly, fear, shame & ruin. We are all jammed in reverse gear as far as goodness and evil go, and the whole world's history is that we cannot fix it.
Why Jesus Came
God would have been utterly fair and acting in justice if He had washed His hands of mankind, and destroyed the earth, but He did not. He is Just, but He is also Love. Right from Adam's fall in Genesis 3 God promised that one day a New Man, a redeemer would come, to reverse man's rottenness, and restore him to Paradise. To finally get men into forward gear again. The promise was dim at first, but clearer as the centuries rolled on, perhaps at its clearest in Isaiah's prophecies, especially his chapters 9, 42 and 53. Here is chapter 9:2
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." NIV
How is Jesus Revolutionary?
If you haven't read it, click here to see the first 13 verses of Mark's Gospel
- Revolutionary in His Origin. He is called in verse 1 the "Son of God". We are "sons of God", in the natural sense of being God's creatures, but there is a huge difference. The Jewish religious leaders understood this difference, when Jesus said that God was his Father:
"For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:18, NIV
- Revolutionary in His Herald.
The kings and great men of the world have their heralds, sent before to announce their arrival, and chosen to show off their power and prestige. Not so with Jesus. Just one man went before, and he was a rough-looking man dressed in a camel hair garment (but a prophet's garment - see Zechariah 13:4). Yet he was a herald sent by God (as was foretold by the prophet Isaiah).
He was called John the Baptist, but we could just as well call him "John the Bulldozer" for the straight paths he was to make required flattening mountains and filling valleys (see Isaiah 40:1-5, from where the quote in verse 3 comes). He did this by preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All mankind's efforts to clean himself up had failed, and a greater washing was needed. Multitudes agreed, and came to be baptized in the Jordan River.
- Revolutionary in His Power. John blows the herald's trumpet when tells the crowds "I'm not the promised redeemer - see, He is coming!" We are powerless to change ourselves, but He who is coming is mighty.
"After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie." NIV
"I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Mark 1:7,8 NIV
- Revolutionary in His Humility. Quite unlike us - we are very rarely humble about anything, and then not for long (we can even get proud of our humility!). Pride in "me" sticks close as our skin.
- A King? Yes, but not as men expected. He comes as a peasant from Galilee and not an aristocrat from Jerusalem, the capital. He was a "man from the bush", and a carpenter by trade (but so He blesses all manual labour).
- Baptism - He who should baptize John submits Himself to be baptized by John. In this way He identifies Himself with mankind's sin and failure (though He had neither). (See to how Jesus honours and commends baptism to all who trust in Him. Though we never fully understand it, He embraces it.)
- Revolutionary in His Goodness. See what happens then - the Spirit of God descends visibly upon Him, as a sign that He was completely fit for his role as redeemer. See what witness is given - God's voice is heard from heaven...
"You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Mark 1:11 NIV
We can never please God, because we are rebels, proud and selfish, but with this Revolutionary Man God declares He is "well pleased". Please without any reservation. Here is a truly Good Man (with no taint of evil in Him).
See here too, the witness of the Father and the Spirit that Jesus is this true Son of God and one with God. Here the Trinity, though never in the Bible called by that name, is here; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Revolutionary in His Victory. His first mission? It is a mission of submission, alone in the desert for 40 days to prove both His goodness and His power. He is tempted "in every way, just as we are - yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). He passes the test! He knows the full strength of the most subtle temptations, but does not yield, as Adam did, and as we still do. Here is goodness displayed. He overthrows Satan, the fallen angel and prince of demons, who crafted the temptations, and Satan flees. Here is power displayed.
A New Man
Here is the New Man we need, the Revolutionary Man.
- He knows all about us, with our temptations and our many falls
- He loves us (enough to humble Himself to the Earth, and to die)
- He is mighty to save, none can defeat Him, so we can be safe and sure in Him.
Mark's Gospel, Chapter 1, verses 1 to 13 (NIV)
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"- 3 "a voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: "After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
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Last updated: 12 Aug 2022
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