First Sunday in Lent - 18 February 2018
Gospel Reading - Mark 1:12-15
See Mark 6:17-29 for background on the arrest and death of John the Baptist.
John, in his great humility and understanding of his mission, spoke of a hand-off of sorts in the revelation of God’s plan for salvation (see John 3:28-30); specifically in verse 30, where he proclaims: “He must increase, but I must decrease”.
And, so it was, with the arrest of John, John’s role decreased, and the role of Jesus would increase.
If we follow the ministry of Christ, we see that his primary concern was the conversion of the Jews. He would leave taking the Gospel Message to the rest of the world to his disciples (including us).
Acts 1:8 – “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Matthew 28:19-20(a) – “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
So, just as the baton was passed from John the Baptist to Jesus, Jesus has passed the baton to us to evangelize the world. It may appear to be a daunting task, but we have the assistance of the Holy Spirit, which gives credence to Jesus’ proclamation at this ascension:
Matthew 28:20(b) – "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”