Mark 1:1-5: John the Baptist
Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 4, 2012
Mark 1:1-5 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began (2) just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. (3) He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him!'” (4) This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had turned to God to receive forgiveness for their sins. (5) All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
Here are just a few thoughts of a new believer. What do the gospels teach us about Jesus? What was His message? What is the message He gives us to share with the world?
Mark begins his book with the main message he wants to convey. “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” Mark wants us to think of three details throughout his entire book. This is the Good News. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is he Son of God.
One of the things I have learned is, when Jesus quotes scripture, He did it for a reason. He is pointing us back to the Old Testament to learn a lesson about Him. In this case Mark quotes scripture because it teaches us something important about John the Baptist. We will never learn the deeper details unless we take the time to look at the original texts he is quoting.
Malachi 3:1-4 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. (2) “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. (3) He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD. (4) Then once more the LORD will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.
The only part of this text Mark quoted was, “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him!'” Look at a list of the additional information supplied by the original text:
Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple.
The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,
But who will be able to endure it when he comes?
Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears?
He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD.
Then once more the LORD will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.
The original texts goes way past John onto the Messiah, linking the two together in a common mission from God. One the Son of God, the other only a man, blessed by God. Isn’t it important to read about John while thinking about how the message he was given to preach fits into the plan of salvation? John was doing more then merely preaching, he was announcing, “the messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly.”
The original texts also shows the intent of his preaching, to bring the Levites back to God. He was personally offering the message to them. Words cannot express the feeling I get when I think about God first offering this message to the people who would eventually be responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. From the beginning of the message until the cross, and beyond, God never stopped reaching out to them. No matter how much they tried to run away from Him.
There is another text many people associate with John’s ministry that sheds more light on the life and message John was given to share.
Psalms 40:7-11 Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: (8) I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” (9) I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know. (10) I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. (11) LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
Why did John preach in the wilderness? Why didn’t the announcement of the Messiah begin in Jerusalem? Was it important for the priests to go to John? Was it the setting? Did God design the scenes of nature to draw the religious leaders to a new view of the Creator? Did He have to draw them away from their worldly accomplishments to see the message John was preaching? It was not only the religious leaders who came out to see John. Mark records: “All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.”
Why could some people understand the message while others could not? They all heard the same words, and gazed upon the same scenes of nature. All of them had sins to be forgiven. Some people hear the truth from God and accept the message while others have trouble understanding. Have you ever received the impression some people think, if the message did not come through them, it could not be true. What determines who God will speak though and when? What lessons can we learn from John the Baptist?
As a new believer I wonder why Mark began his book by drawing us back to the Old Testament. Did he do this for a reason? Is Mark telling us this message, the Good News was written long before he sat down to record what he was inspired to write. I can’t help but think, looking up the Old Testament scriptures referenced may be one of the most important points while reading the Gospels. Based on the additional information learned in this example, I see the Old Testament texts are an important feature to consider. In a sense it slows us down and allows the Spirit to do the teaching.
This entry was posted on October 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm and is filed under Gospel Messages Mark. Tagged: baptized, Good News about Jesus the Messiah, John the Baptist, LORD's coming, Malachi 3, Mark 1:1-5: John the Baptist, messenger of the covenant, offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD, prophet Isaiah had written, Psalms 40, refining them like gold and silver, the Son of God, voice shouting in the wilderness, written about me in the Scriptures. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.