hands-holding-bibleI am working through the Gospel of Mark in my personal Bible study.  One of the aspects of Mark that I particularly like is that the story jumps right into the ministry of Jesus.  Reading the words of Jesus fascinates me! 

Mark records Jesus’ first command in chapter 1 verse 15 as, ‘Repent, and believe in the gospel.’   How simple!

Jesus was preaching in Galilee when He spoke this command.  Luke gives us a bit more information about this time in Jesus’ life.  After John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil for 40 days.  (LK 4:1-2)  After His temptation and John’s inprisonment, ‘Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God…’ (Mk 1:14)

The idea that Jesus’ first command was repent and believe is quite interesting.  Here’s why.  My old Sunday School teacher, Jim, used to always say, ‘Belief plus nothing.’   (Apparently a teaching from Les Feldick.)  He would also remind us of the Acts 17:11 passage which tells of the Bereans who ‘searched the Scriptures daily to find whether these things (that Paul was teaching) were so.’    Jim would exhort his students to ‘be Bereans’; to check the Scriptures to see if what he was teaching us was correct.  So….I checked!

Jesus commanded those in His audience to repent and believe the Gospel.  There is also a passage of Scripture that says, ‘Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…” (Acts 16:31).  Paul, during his sermon on Mars Hill, told the men of Athens that ‘God…now commands all men everywhere to repent.’ (Acts 17:30)  Therefore, these two commands, repent & believe, must work together.  It cannot just be ‘belief plus nothing’ ! 

Holy Father,   Open our eyes to the sin in our lives so we may repent.  Gives us the desire to study the truth of your Word.  Remind us of the promise of Your glorious grace and mercy.    Amen