Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall continue to see from the Gospel of Mark a life that is fully according to and for the New Testament economy of God.
It is not an easy matter to study the Gospel of Mark. Because we may be led astray in understanding this book, it is quite difficult to study it. In the past many of us were misled in our efforts to understand this Gospel. Some regard the Gospel of Mark merely as a biography of the Lord Jesus. Others consider this Gospel simply a book of stories concerning Jesus. Of course, it is not wrong to say that the Gospel of Mark is a biography or a book of stories. This book is a biography of the Lord, and it does contain many stories concerning His life. But if we get into the depths of the Gospel of Mark, we shall see that this Gospel is more than a biography or a book of stories. The Gospel of Mark presents a life that lives fully according to God’s New Testament economy.
In this message we need to pay particular attention to 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This verse is not the title of a biography or of a book of stories. Here we have three main terms: the beginning, the gospel, and Jesus Christ.
The word “gospel” is used in 1:1 in a new way, in a way not employed previously. From Adam until Jesus Christ there was nothing in man’s culture or civilization to correspond to what is denoted by the word “gospel” in the New Testament.
Both John 1:1 and Mark 1:1 use the word “beginning.” John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here “beginning” denotes eternity past. John’s use of this word is very mysterious. Mark, on the contrary, speaks of the beginning of the gospel. The Gospel of Mark is unique among the four Gospels in opening with the clear expression “the beginning of the gospel.”
We need to be deeply impressed with the opening word of the Gospel of Mark. The phrase “the beginning of the gospel” indicates that this book is not merely a biography of a Nazarene named Jesus Christ. Neither is this merely a book of stories. Rather, this book speaks concerning the beginning of the gospel. At least to a certain extent or in a certain sense, we may regard the entire book of Mark as the beginning of the gospel.
If Mark is the beginning of the gospel, where is the continuation of the gospel? The continuation of the gospel is seen on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the chosen and prepared disciples. Peter, James, John, and the other disciples had been chosen by God and personally called by Jesus Christ. After they had been called, they were prepared by the Lord. During the ten days before Pentecost, the one hundred and twenty were praying. Do you know where they were in those days? They were in the heavens, in the Lord’s ascension. They had been brought into the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. On the day of Pentecost they received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, on that day there was the continuation of the gospel. Hence, Mark is the beginning of the gospel, and Acts is the continuation of the gospel. This continuation has not yet ended. This means that we today are still in the continuation of the gospel.
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