…this is the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The first word in Mark is the Greek word Ἀρχὴ – the beginning.
Yes, Bill Maher, Mark skips the story of Jesus’ birth…but not because it isn’t important. Mark gets right to the point that the moment Jesus stepped forth from the desert that day way back when that the story begins.
All the years of believing this day would come, of hoping for the Messiah, of revealing the rule of God began that day. And from that day forth the world would change because Jesus Christ, the Son of God was revealed to the world, and as Mark’s Gospel story was told both in that day until now, Jesus continues to be revealed.
The story, as Mark tells it starts there.
So, this is what we may call artistic license today. Mark’s story begins in action because that is the whole point – God is up to something…something big! Ben Witherington makes a good case that this first line in Mark serves as a good introduction to a biography on Jesus. And since ancient Greco-Roman biography allows for a lack of birth narrative, Mark seems to be emphasizing to the hearer/reader that this story bears all the depth, weight, and fervor of a change that only God himself could pull off. The good news is news of victory, and God sent his son to prove it. The story commands attention from the start, and centers the story on Jesus.
Imagine hearing this story for the first time.
Until now, only short stories or remembrances of Jesus had been shared among the early church. Perhaps, on occasion, an eyewitness to an event in the life of Jesus would share their testimony. But now, Mark had written it down as narrative, as a biography of sorts. This is a complete story. One that powerfully illustrates God’s intentions through the ages. One that can be shared among all the churches. A story that will be told many times and that continues with and through the church…