“On Your Mark”
The New is in the Old Contained (Chapter 1 Verses 2-3)
The good news Mark relates to us is not a newfangled message, it has deep historical roots (v2). This is a very important point for us to understand, it is the same message declared by the prophets of old, Moses, King David, Jeremiah, and of course, Isaiah quoted here by Mark. You see it was not some overnight sensation, but that which God had been declaring for centuries. Now the Gospel may be fresh to us, we may be fairly new in the faith, but it is simply the old, old story of Jesus and his love. The preachers of the good news have been declaring it for hundreds of years, and in that time it has been tried, proved and tested, and stood up to all the tests. Rulers have tried to ban the Bible, but its popularity has simply increased. Some have tried to disprove it and found themselves compelled to believe it. Why? Because it is God’s gospel (Romans 1.1), and behind it is Divine power and wisdom. So, therefore, it remains (Isaiah 55.10-11), and does so unrefuted (John 10.35). It is also a mark of authenticity. How can you discern the false prophet from the genuine one? God says in the Old Testament, by the results of their words, whether the thing prophesied comes to pass or not (Deuteronomy 18.20-22). The mark of the genuine article is, it comes to pass. Now Mark tells us what Isaiah had written hundreds of years before, about the Gospel, and here it is he says, it has come to pass just as he said. In other words, Isaiah is a genuine prophet, and the good news is up-front too. You may trust it (1.15).
Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets predicted the coming of someone else, before Jesus that is, John the Baptist (v2), he was to prepare the way for the Messiah. He came (v4a). Another mark of authenticity. John’s work was vital, but also a great encouragement to many people. God’s voice had been silent for nearly half a century, no prophets in Israel, no word from God for a long, long time. Don’t you think folk should be more careful before they criticise the Bible or the preaching of it? I mean what if God were to do that in our country? Think, if there was a complete dearth of God’s word (Amos 8.11), no preachers? No word from God! John the Baptist’s prophetic voice in the Jordan Valley would have been a welcome sound to many godly folks. Like music in their ears. God had not forgotten his people (Isaiah 49.15), he is true to his word (2Timothy 2.13). At just the right time (Romans 5.6; Galatians 4.4), and the right way (John 14.6), he comes and he fulfils it. Hallelujah!
(© James R Hamilton, written September 1996)