Daily Devotion: The beginning of the Good News

“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as 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 wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.”

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 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. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 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. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist’s message that the Messiah was coming was the beginning of the good news about Jesus. The good news starts with the promise of salvation. The fact that Jesus was coming to rescue His people. God’s promise of salvation is first seen in Genesis 3:14-15 immediately after the fall and is contained throughout the Old Testament in prophecies and stories.

John prepares the people for Jesus by making them aware of their need for repentance and forgiveness. John’s ministry was to “prepare the way for the Lord”. His message opens the eyes of the people to their situation, that they are stained by sin and far from being righteous before God. They are baptized in the waters of the Jordan River, symbolizing repentance from their sin, but the reality is that they need far more than just an acknowledgement of their sin. They need a savior who not only makes them aware of their sin, but deals with it permanently and is able to make them righteous before God. They need to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, not just physical water.

The good news now is that He has come. He has dealt with sin permanently through His death and resurrection and He has made a way for us to be perfectly righteous before God. This is the story that the gospels tell, this is the good news that they bring. What has been hoped for and longed for through the centuries has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

After Paul is arrested, he gives a defense of his faith before King Agrippa, Bernice, Festus and many other high-ranking officials and prominent citizens (Acts 25:23). During his defense he makes these statements in regards to Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament.

“And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.” – Acts 26:6-7a

“But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” – Acts – 26:22-23

The hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ develops throughout the Bible. It begins with the good news that the Messiah is coming. Then it tells the story of how He came and what He did to work our salvation. Now we tell the good news of both the hope that is fulfilled in Jesus and the truth that He is coming again.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” – John 14:3

He is coming. He is here. He will come again.

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