Mark starts out differently than Matthew. There is no account of the birth of Jesus, no mention of the angels foretelling his coming and the shepherds keeping watch in the field. We start immediately with John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.
So why look to Mark during this time of celebrating Jesus’ birth?
I think often times we can easily overlook the many wonders Jesus performed here on earth. We tend to focus our energy on his birth (Christmas) and His death (Easter). But what happened in between? The reason his birth and death are so impactful is because a savior entered our world, then left to return again someday.
Did you catch the important word up there? Let me give you some help, a savior entered our world, then left to return again someday. The beauty of Jesus’ birth wasn’t that some baby had to be born in a stable and be placed in a manger, the beauty was that this baby was a savior.
So I think Mark started in a great place. He knew others would tell of this birth story, but he started where people began to notice that Jesus was a savior. Take a look at Mark 1:10-11
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Can you imagine being in the audience of that baptism? Sure you may have heard rumor that angels spoke to some shepherds saying there was a savior being born, or that wisemen knew to follow a star. But in this moment, the heavens opened up and God’s voice affirmed Jesus as His.
From this point, Mark continues to write down the ministry of Jesus – the calling of His disciples, the temptations He faced, and the many wonders He performed.
This advent season, I want to challenge you to not just look at the birth of Jesus, but also His LIFE. Yes, we should celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we celebrate His birth because of who He is and what He did on earth. Otherwise, He was just a baby who happened to be born in a stable.