“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way,” (Mark 1:1–2, ESV)
Mark gives us a signpost as he opens up his gospel that we must not miss because it is crucial to understanding the Book of Mark.
He writes: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet.” These are absolutely critical words.
When the New Testament authors wanted to refer specifically to the Old Testament, they often used the phrase that Mark uses here: “As it is written,” [Καθὼς γέγραπται for Greek studs]. The verb tense that the writers use is a perfect tense which is used to refer to something that is true now and will be true into the indefinite future. So when “it is written” then it stands written for now and into eternity and beyond.
Mark then, is associating himself with the prophet Isaiah. He is in essence saying, “I am going to write about this person Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I agree with what Isaiah wrote about him. “My understanding of the person of Christ”, writes Mark, “is the same as Isaiah’s, my theology is his theology.”
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (HIBD) summarizes the theology of Isaiah in this way:
- God neither overlooks nor excuses sin.
- God as the Sovereign Lord of History
- Faith in God Is True Security
- Messiah and Suffering Servant – “The messiah and the suffering servant themes seem contradictory [in Isaiah], at least initially. The messiah would rule while the servant suffered and died for the nation. From the NT perspective, one can easily see how Jesus fulfilled both images in His ministry. The church, knowing how Jesus suffered, yet believing He would also return to rule, combined the concepts into the ministry of the ultimate Messiah, the Christ.”(HIBD)
Mark’s Messiah is Isaiah’s Messiah. Mark’s Suffering Servant is Isaiah’s Suffering Servant. God’s character has not changed. He still neither overlooks nor excuses sin. He is still the Sovereign Lord of History. Jesus is his provision for sin, so say both Isaiah and Mark.