My church began a new series today where we will be going through the book of Mark.
Pastor Jeff taught from verses 1-13 of Chapter 1. He started by sharing the greater (meta) narrative of the Bible as a whole. The greatest stories contain a creation-fall-redemption style narrative as it is a reflection of the greatest story ever told, the actual creation, fall, and redemption of all mankind by God through Jesus Christ.
Pastor Jeff then pointed out the parallels between Mark 1 and Genesis 1. In Genesis 1 you have God, the Spirit, and the Word all present in the creation of everything we know. In Mark 1 you have the Father, the Spirit, and the Son all present at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.
The inbreaking of the Kingdom of God is the Christ fulfilling the Old Testament and creating the foundation of the New. In our contemporary services, baptism is usually accompanied by a short testimony and a verbal confession of Jesus as LORD. In John's baptism, baptism was accompanied by a confession of sins out in the wilderness by a man covered in camel hair and bug breath. It is worth noting that it cost the early church much more than it often does us in coming to and proclaiming devotion to Jesus and perhaps this is what enabled the Church to endure such harsh persecutions at the hand of Rome with faith in tact.
Pastor Jeff challenged the church to enter into the book of Mark as more than a endeavor to accrue new information about Jesus, but as the challenge presented by Mark to repent and believe in Jesus for your current circumstances and the eternal rest of your soul.