Hope is Finally Here
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Mark 1:1–1:15
One encounter can change your life. It can and there’s none greater for you to experience than an encounter with Jesus. It’s true today in these uncertain times just as it was 2,000 years ago when He walked this earth. So join us for our new series, “Encountering Hope: a journey through the Gospel of Mark.” Each week, we’ll relive some amazing stories and discover the hope that Jesus brought to desperate people—a hope that He still brings today. So whether you’ve read through the Bible many times before or it’s all brand new to you, join us on this journey and encounter the hope of Jesus for yourself.
Mark 1:1-15 NIV
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you,who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,‘Prepare the way for the Lord,make straight paths for him.’ ” 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 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. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 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. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The Story of Jesus is a Story of Hope
Hope Announced: John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus.
Hope Arrived: Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan River.
Hope Affirmed: Heavenly words affirm Jesus.
Hope Opposed: Satan tempts Jesus to abandon His mission.
Hope Proclaimed: Jesus' ministry of Good News Begins.
1. Embrace Affirmation by God
Before Jesus preached His first message or performed His first miracle, Jesus heard these words of unconditional love and absolute affirmation from His Heavenly Father: "This is my Son, whom I love; in Him I am well pleased." God loves His children simply because of “who we are to Him,” and not because of “what we do for Him.” That’s why Jesus is so fascinating and the hope of His Good News is so liberating, because you’re never going to find that same kind of unconditional love and absolute affirmation anywhere else in the world. That’s why our core identity as people needs to be built upon the unrivaled, unchanging, unconditional love that our God has for you.
2. Expect Opposition by Satan
If God did not spare His own Son from temptation in the wilderness and terror on the cross, then why should we expect any different? As Christians, we can often fall into the trap of misinterpreting our circumstances and misunderstanding our blessings. So if we encounter difficulty in life or things don’t go our way, our mind can wander to false and harmful conclusions like, “I must have done something wrong” or “If God really loved me, then I wouldn’t have to suffer like this” as if being a Christian means we’re always going to be spared from heartache and hardship in this life. But that couldn’t be further from the truth--Scripture teaches that when we plant our hope fully in Good News of Jesus, then we will become a target of attacks from Satan, who would love nothing more than to get us to doubt God’s goodness, just like he tried to do with Jesus.
3. Extend Hope to Others
God sends us (His church) out into the world to be ambassadors of hope to the people around us. We're not Jesus but we do share in His mission to proclaim the Good News of God in what we say and what we do; in how we live and how we love; in the ways we care and the ways we share. If there’s ever been a time when this world needs ambassadors of hope, that time is now. Given the challenges of this anxious season, the most powerful acts of love these days are also the simplest—like a call, or a text, or a note, or a prayer, or an errand. This week, be open to the person God lays on your heart. When you feel that nudge from Him, it’ll lead you to do that special something for that certain someone. So by the grace of God and the hope of Jesus within us, let’s do what we can to extend hope to others.
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