Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Epistle: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Lesson: Is. 40:1-11
Psalm: Psalm 85
CLB Commentary – Dr. Eugene Boe
The text for the second Sunday of advent begins with the phrase “The beginning of the good news” which may indicate the tile for the book and may also be a statement of its content (See Philippians 4:15). The “Gospel” means good news, and this word is used in Jesus’ first presentation of his preaching (Mark 1:14). Mark uses a heading that tells us that Jesus Himself, his person and works, is the Gospel’s content. So he gets right the heart of the book saying, “Beginning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” This Gospel named Jesus (which means “God’s salvation”) Christ is further identified to be God’s Son (see also 1:11; 9:7; 15:39), revealing His one of a kind relationship with God His Father.
The “as” in verse 2 links the Gospel to be unfolded with the prophecy of Isaiah (40:3), which also gathers up quotations from Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1. This signals that the Gospel is a fulfillment of God’s promised salvation given in the Old Testament (see 1:15). What the people have needed is now on the way. God has sent a voice to get all ready for the coming of this Jesus Gospel, who is “the Lord” in the same way that Yahweh is Lord, “His way”, “His paths.” The focus is on the one who is coming.
The expression “wilderness” recalls the life of God’s people after the exodus on the way to the promised land. So now John shows up in the wilderness as the preacher of repentance to prepare a people for Jesus who would be for them the new promised land.
People were readied for the Coming One through the preaching of a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This preaching produced a confessing of sins. Where there is repentance there is the confessing of sins and a turning from sin to Christ. This preaching included the acting of God through John’s baptism which effected the sending away of sins. People today are readied for the coming of Jesus through the preaching of repentance. This Coming One is for sinners. He is for sinners who are living in the “wilderness” today.
We have another reference to Jesus as John speaks of him as “the one more powerful than I” (See Isaiah 40:10; 59:15b-19). This Gospel embodied in the person and work of Christ is a mighty gospel. As Paul wrote, “it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes”.