Year 2 Day 35
Read - Mark 1:14-15
Message - Alan Burke
Do you remember those MP’s that fiddled there expenses and were making a small fortune and the fella who claimed £1,645 for a ‘duck island’, dirtbags. I can say that and know that no one is going to get upset with me for calling out the corrupt MP’s who fiddled their expenses after all there was a national outcry. Yet there are many other things that I could say that wouldn’t be popular, they would be true, they would be the teaching of scripture but I reckon our Facebook page would be canceled and I’d be called all of manner of things for speaking the truth. Here in Mark’s gospel were told John was put in prison and it was precisely for speaking the truth of God which is so unpopular in every age because it confronts people with their sin.
Remember John had been baptising in the river Jordan a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and it was a message that lead him on a direct collision course with the powers that be. In Matthew 14 we are told why John was in prison, and it was because he wasn’t afraid to call out sin for what it was and is, he was imprisoned because he condemned the sin of Herod Antipas who was the ruler of Galilee. John condemned Herod’s sin in how he had divorced wife and married the divorced wife of his half brother Philip. This arrest reveals how the truth isn’t popular, and also forewarns us of what to expect for Jesus, that he too was on a collision course with the rules of this world and ultimately Satan. Herod Antipas likely thought he had dealt with that thorn in his flesh but in reality there was nothing he could do to stop the plans and purposes of God. The Lord God was using the sinful actions of Herod as part of his plan in bringing forth the kingdom, at the time it might have seemed that John was on the wrong side of history but the glorious truth is that he was not.
For with John’s arrest Jesus came and proclaimed the good news of God, that is “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”. We will spend the next two devotions unpacking this but I want to leave you with two things. First, how the source of this good news is the Lord God himself, he is the source of the gospel. God is the source of this gospel. The gospel is of divine and not human origin, it is a gift from God. This is the message that Jesus was proclaiming. Secondly, God uses the actions of sinful people in this world to bring about his purposes. Even though John was languishing in prison God was using it all and I personally have been reassured and taken comfort in the knowledge that, for in what has happened in the Dáil in the South and the Assembly in the North recently you can see the wickedness of our leaders, where they not only call sin good but they celebrate it, yet we have a God who is at work. We may wonder what is going on, but we have a God who is at work using the actions of those opposed to him for his purposes, God by his providence is at work bringing his gospel to bear on the lives of people all over this world.
Q46 What is required in the first commandment?
The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; (1 Chron. 28:9, Deut. 26:17) and to worship and glorify him accordingly. (Matt. 4:10, Ps. 29:2)