Matthew 1:1 NIV
 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Matthew seems pretty confident that Jesus is the Messiah, a word with so much power to reckon with us and all that has captured us that I am not sure how big or long or loud our explanations of Messiah could be and still be only an approximation of the real.
Some synonyms: King, Anointed, Savior, Redeemer, Ransomer, Hero, Deliverer, Protector
Mark 9:15 (NIV)
As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
What could I possibly say?
Well, why aren’t you runnin’ yet?
Mark 6:32-33 (NIV)
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
Who would you run to meet?
Not amble or stroll: run.
Mark 6:29-30 (NIV)
On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.  The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
When I write, when I look at the pairing of words, I look at the incongruities–the disciples are cruising around healing people while…the last OT prophet is imprisoned and murdered?!
Why not storm Herod’s palace? Kick some apostate butt?
God sees the big picture. I don’t. I just have to keep my eyes on him, on the Cross.
He died. For me. For you. For John.
The Big Picture: Calvary.
Mark 1:16-20 (NIV)
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.  When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Let me just put the modernist paraphrase on this–an itinerate carpenter sees some dudes with legit jobs and tells them to quit them for an unvarnished Ponzi scheme.
I once got in trouble for trying to rid a church of a Ponzi scheme…those were good times.
Today this sentence popped into my head–kindness is it’s own reward.. I thought, not really…. Avarice, power-mongering and Viagra are their own rewards.
Kindness is a discipline practiced with one eye trained on eternity.
Same with this story. Take 12 grown men with decent jobs and make them penniless outlaws for a quack story about Resurrection? That is bad economics.
That is Jesus. What He calls us to leave is as important as what He calls us to pursue.
leave your life to gain it
take up your cross and follow me…
If he is wrong we are fools. If he is right….
Run to Him.
>Mark 1:7-8 (NIV)
And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
We are an easily distracted bunch. what? Something about shoes? Something about baptism?
Most of us want to be the best at what we do and John was so sold out he looked like a lunatic. Yet his message is preparation for someone else.
look at me, now wait for someone so much better that I don’t deserve to tie his shoes…
Baptism with water is all symbol–a ring on a finger, a hose down in the backyard.
Baptism by the Spirit of God. That is resurrection, transformation–the breath of heaven. Life poured out for us.
And John is right. Jesus is amazing. The love of God walks in.
No one ever the same.
Mark 1:1-4 (NIV)
The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—  “a voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”  And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
There are 4 men here–Jesus, Isaiah, Mark, and John the Baptist. If you, like me, believe that the biblical record is true then you also probably see these men as prophets. Each of them would have acknowledged that among them, Jesus was God.
Mark wastes no time stating his purpose–
this is the good news about God/Jesus. Here he is.
He is not just stating his belief about Jesus, he is sharing Jesus’ immaculate credentials–first Isaiah with his words of extravagant hope, then John the Baptist, nutty one man revival, messenger of God.
And hard to line up so many prophets unless you are God. In which case it is just what you do
And while we are at it, allow me to say we are all wilderness without him.
How do you and I need to make a straight path for the Son of God?