If you were given just one sentence to say what the best news you have ever had is, I wonder what you would say? Today for me, Manchester City 0 – Manchester United 2 could be right up there but that is only a temporary thrill. There is nothing life changing about a football result for the casual fan. “Yes, I will marry you,” now that could be someone’s top choice. “I’m pregnant,” is certainly going to be life changing. “I am pleased to offer you the job,” there was a day when that felt like fantastic news. “I am pleased to say the test results have come back and you have the all clear,’ would be amazing to hear. “Today is victory in Europe day,” caused rejoicing throughout an entire nation. I am told it was the last day my Father got totally drunk. Could there be any better news than these happy life changing events. Mark says so.
He opens his biography of Jesus’ ministry with the words. ‘The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet.’ v1 Why is this better news than a promise to marry, the birth of a child, a new career opportunity, healing from a terminal illness or peace in our time? It is because of who he is. This is God in our lives. God is not the bloke round the corner. God is eternal, God is the source of all there is, God who has been prophesied about over centuries is here now and he wants you, me, each of us. We were made for him. The opening sentence of Mark is Mark bursting to say it and cannot contain his good news. He cannot carefully build up to it, rambling over history. No! Here he is and this is who he is. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD THE MESSIAH!!!
Get ready everybody the show is on. This is really going to change your life. Not just for the next seventy years but for ever, literally for ever. So, sort yourselves out. It is time to, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord.’ v3 How are we to do that? Straighten our lives out. All those crooked paths we have been following, those dubious decisions, those words we should never have said, those harmful passions we indulged, those people we hurt, the cheating, the lying, the selfish acts, the hating, the cruel words we have said and more. It is time turn away from all of that, it’s time to be honest about ourselves, it’s time to be honest to God. More than that it is time to be more than sorry it is time to turn around and change our ways, turning to God and placing him at the top of our list.
Then more than that, it is time to do it publicly. Oh, that hurts. But that is what crowds and crowds of people did when they went out to John and were harangued by his preaching, knew it to be true and were baptized in front of the people who knew them best in the River Jordon. What was so special about the River Jordon beside it being there and deep enough to be baptized in? It was the river the people of God crossed to enter the promised land. Let me into the promised land again was their heart felt cry.
Why is Jesus the best of news? Because our response to him has eternal consequences. Consequences now and consequences that never end.
So, what’s the best news you ever heard again?
When I Cross Over Jordan At Last