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The scriptures today are about identity. In the gospels it’s at the time of his baptism that God clearly affirms his identity as the son of God. There is a link between his sonship and who we are as the children of God. This Sunday, the first after the Christmas season is known as the Baptism of our Lord Sunday. From the destabilizing message of Christmas – that God doesn’t come to us as we expect, nor to only do what we hope – the next step is one that deals with our identity. Who are we in this good news? How does the birth of one child change the world?
Mark 1 is the beginning of Mark’s gospel account, as well as of the gospel. Gospel is the old English translation of the word evangile (as in evangelical or evangelistic) coming from the original Greek work in the text “euvangelion” Can you hear the similarities? The word means “good news” as in the announcement of a military victory in war. It’s not just a happy word to make you feel better. It’s a word that is worth dying to deliver, like the anonymous man who ran from the battle of Marathon to give the news of victory to the Greek people and then dropped dead. Mark begins his gospel with the good news that the war is won in Christ, that the war is won for Christ and that the war is won by Christ.
Romans 6 The chapter is the theological explanation and justification of how the death and resurrection of Jesus extends to us, how his righteousness becomes our own. Can you hear how different the language is than that of Mark 1? Mark is telling a story. Paul is arguing a point. How do you react to the point that Paul is trying to make? You may need to read the whole chapter (or even from Romans 5:1) to get a better grasp of his argument. Paul is arguing this understanding for a reason. Not just for us to be smart and conversant in theological language, but so that we might live a life that is worthy of what it has become in Christ. In a sense we are not our own.
Questions for going deeper: