The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (Mark 1:1-3)
This is not the beginning of either John or Jesus. It is the beginning of the gospel when the Lord Jesus came to this earth and died upon a cross and rose again. That, my friend, is the gospel.
There are three beginnings recorded in Scripture. Let us put them down in chronological order.
1. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). This goes back to a dateless beginning, a beginning before all time. Here the human mind can only grope. It is logical rather than chronological because in my thinking, I must put my peg somewhere in the past in order to take off. If I see an airplane in the air, I assume there is an airport somewhere. I may not know where it is, but I know the plane took off from some place. So when I look around at the universe, I know that it took off from somewhere and that somewhere there is a God. But I don’t know anything about that beginning. God comes out of eternity to meet us. I just have to put down the peg at the point where He does meet us, back as far as I can think, and realize He was there before that.
2. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is where we move out of eternity into time. However, although many people have been attempting to date this universe, no man so far knows. Man’s guesses have ranged from six thousand years to three billion years. We know so little, but when we come into His presence and begin to know even as we are known, then we will realize how we saw through a glass darkly. I’m sure we will marvel at our stupidity and our ignorance. Our God is a great God. He has plenty of time.
3. “The beginning of the gospel …” (Mark 1:1) is the same as “That which was from the beginning …” (1 John 1:1). This is dated. It goes back to Jesus Christ at the precise moment He took upon Himself human flesh. Jesus Christ is the gospel!—From Edited Messages on Mark by J. Vernon McGee