St. Mark, Evangelist
25 April 2018
St. Mark's Gospel begins with the title: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The Gospel consists in the person of Jesus Christ and his work to ransom us from sin and death. This message about Christ would be of no benefit to us if the message is not told and proclaimed. So the gospel is also a proclamation of what Christ has done to ransom us. Without a proclamation there would be no ransom for us. The proclamation itself brings with it the ransom by the forgiveness of sins.
What if some exceptionally rich man began handing out ingots of gold in a public place in our town? If we never heard the message that this was taking place, we would remain paupers. If the gospel is not proclaimed, its riches remain buried and the forgiveness of sins is not received. This is why the gospel was written down, read in public, and proclaimed by the church which the gospel creates. If this is true, the four New Testament books we call the Gospels should not be titled the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Gospel of St. Mark, and so on, but rather as Mark himself has done; "the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." So, while Christ ransomed us once and for all by his death and resurrection, it also belongs to our redemption that that work of Christ should be proclaimed to us. Through its testimony that redemption becomes our own. St. Paul says, "Christ gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time" (1Ti 2:6).

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"Had Christ been crucified a hundred thousand times and had nothing been said about it, what profit would the act of His being brought to the cross have brought? But when I come to this, I must draw this act into history and publish it for all the world. Also, if anyone had seen this, he would not have thought that the work of redemption was taking place there. The work is fulfilled on the cross, but no one knows of the redemption except the Father and the Son. Therefore, to the act also the use of the act must be added, that it may be declared through the Word and that one may hold it by faith and, thus believing, may be saved.
"Paul's intent, then, is this: to the work of redemption belongs the Word of preaching, which does nothing else but impress the work of redemption. 'You [Luther] have urged this passage beyond measure. Answer me. You credit the remission of sins to the Gospel, to Baptism, and to Scripture. But the forgiveness of sins lies in the shedding of the blood.' Who has placed those words in your mouth so that you know that this is the redemption from sins? You did not see it on the cross. You heard it, but through the Word. They say: 'Christ completed the redemption with a single work.' Yes, but He distributes it, applies it, and tells it by testimony. There is a testimony in Baptism. We are baptized into Christ. His Word is present. I am baptized into Christ the Crucified. In Baptism, therefore, there is a use of redemption-an application of its use. In this way the Gospel is the spoken Word, but it gives and brings this that Christ is, etc. Thus, the Word of God brings out the remission of sins. Therefore, there is remission of sins in the Gospel. This one fact-that Christ died once for all, etc.-is divulged and spread in the Word. Thus, there is remission of sin in the Sacrament."

Martin Luther, 
Lectures on 1 Timothy, 2.6
Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." The voice of your watchmen- they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (ESV)
Almighty God, You have enriched Your Church with the proclamation of the Gospel through the evangelist Mark. Grant that we may firmly believe these glad tidings and daily walk according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For all mothers, that their heavenly Father would keep them in the riches of the gospel proclamation through the power of the Holy Spirit
For all those who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we Christians would be filled with zeal to proclaim this life-giving message
For the Council of Presidents of the LCMS, that they would lead the church with the proclamation of God's Word
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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