Beginning a series in the Gospel of Mark, honouring the spirit if not the letter of the Lectionary in the ‘Year of Mark’. Before Jesus Christ, the central character of history, steps onto the stage, he is introduced first by Mark and then by John the Baptist. The two witnesses combined let us know at the outset that following Jesus is a radical and possibly dangerous pursuit. Even insiders must be made clean in order to receive him. And following him means choosing him ahead of every other claim to supremacy – including the Emperor of Rome.