And So It Begins...

And so the extravagance begins, wild, outrageous, vulgar grace.  Isaiah the prophet saw it coming -
Can you see him? - he is coming, right before your eyes,
to prepare the way.
Can you hear him? - he is howling from the margins
'The Lord is coming,
Get ready!'

First came John's dare to be baptized, plunged beneath the water's surface, to mark time and change and forgiveness.  They came to him from country and city, Judea and Jerusalem, all of them confessing, naming wrongs for all to hear.  John pushed their soiled lives into the muddy Jordan. John was of the earth, camel-hair robe, leather belt.  He lived on grasshoppers and wild honey. His message was always the same:
He's coming, soon, much more than I'll ever be.  I can stir muddy water but He will plunge you into the Spirit of God.

Then he was there, Jesus from Nazareth, and John pushed him face-first in the sin-filled river. As Jesus stood tall the sky tore and the Spirit fell to him like a dove.

A voice out of the sky: 
You are my son, the loved one.

Then the Spirit wrangled him, still dripping wet, into the desert where wild animals lived. Jesus was badgered by Satan forty days and nights.

The angels were close at hand.

Then John was handed over and Jordan's surface was stilled. Jesus tramped into Galilee announcing something good: 
And so it begins. Grace, now. Turn around and believe.

Mark 1.1-15
Two things - 
1. Any word or phrase that seemed to stand out, demand your attention?  Do you know why?
2. Let me be very clear - this is not a translation, probably not even a paraphrase.  It's the gospel according to Mark according to John.


  1. ....right before your eyes......

    I know this is where He is every single day, so why is it so hard for me to see Him sometimes?

  2. I love that first sentence: "extravagance"..."vulgar grace."

    I like the picture of the soiled people being baptized in the muddy Jordan and then Jesus being baptized in their sin-filled river. It brings everything full-circle with his act of taking on our sins on the cross.

  3. "howling from the margins" Makes me think of the margins of society, where Jesus was born (on earth)

    And Spirit, falling as a dove and wrangling Him in the desert. I don't know if i'll ever understand how God let Satan near his Son. But I don't have to understand, I guess.

  4. Good stuff.

    I read this, then read the ESV translation, then re-read this. I like what you're doing here.

    Phrases I liked:
    - vulgar grace
    - face-first in the sin-filled river
    - badgered by Satan

  5. "Turn around and believe" - love that! Believing requires me to change my point of view.