The past few days, I’ve been commenting on Mark 1:2-3. One last thought on those verses, before we transition to the next section of Mark.
It is fitting that Mark begins with quotes from the prophets, for Jesus is deeply rooted in the prophets of Israel. He joins them in calling people to shalom, a way of life in which all people have the means to flourish. Shalom is God’s intention that all people live well with one another, and that they have the resources necessary for a full life. Shalom means creating social structures in which no one has too little, and no one has too much. The people of Israel fell short of this ideal, and thus the prophets continually issued God’s call to faithful living. It was not always popular or safe for them to do that, for there were powerful people who insisted on concentrating the land’s wealth in their own hands.
But God would not be deterred. God promised a Messiah who would lead the people to shalom. And God promised that someone would be sent ahead of the Messiah, to get the people ready for him.
And so it was, that “John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4) Tomorrow we’ll start to talk about John, his message, and his ministry.
God of all people, through your prophets you summon us to create a world of social justice and economic security. Move us to share the world’s abundant resources with one another. Your Son has taught us to pray ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ May your Spirit inspire us to make it so. Amen.