Today’s reading begins the Gospel of Mark. Also referred to as “John Mark”, his account is unique in many ways. It is the shortest account and is believed to be the earliest. Both Luke and Matthew use much of Mark’s text. Luke’s account contains over half of the verses in Mark’s account (some 350 verses out of a total 660 verses in Mark). Unlike Luke and Matthew who begin their accounts with the events surrounding the birth of the Messiah, Mark begins his account with Jesus’ public ministry and the mission of John the Baptist. Mark leaves no doubt as to who Jesus was. In the very first sentence of his account he proclaims that Jesus is the “Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).
Mark displays both Jesus’ divinity and his humanity. For example, Mark tells us that Jesus is “the carpenter” (Mark 6:3). Mark also tells us about Jesus’ emotions as He was moved with “compassion” (Mark 6:34) and he “marveled” at the unbelief of his own townsfolk (Mark 6:6). Mark’s account of Jesus’ humanity even includes Him requiring one of our most basic needs as he describes Jesus “asleep on a cushion” in the stern of the boat as the apostles feared for their lives when caught in the storm at sea (Mark 4:38).
One concept, or more specifically one word, stands out as you read these first six chapters – “immediately”. Mark portrays Jesus in action and urgent action at that. In the first chapter alone Mark gives the sense of the urgency and immediacy of Jesus’ work and mission. He uses the word “immediately” no less than eight times. For example, he says the “Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). “And immediately he called them” (Mark 1:20); “and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught” (Mark 1:21); “and immediately the leprosy left him” (Mark 1:42).
The concept of immediacy is what really stuck out to me in today’s reading. Do I live my life with the urgency to share the Gospel knowing that lost people are dying every day or am I consumed with the urgencies of my own life? Do I immediately take advantage of opportunities to share the Good News of our Savior or do I put it off until a “better time” comes along? In Mark 1:15 Jesus tells us “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” – there is no time to waste!