We begin today our study of the Gospel of Mark. We start at Chapter one, verse one. Mark is the first of the Gospels chronologically, and he introduces us to Jesus: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. This phrase, “the Son of God”, we will see again at the Baptism of Jesus and Tabor and Calvary. The climax in Mark’s Gospel is the Centurion who proclaims, “this is truly the Son of God”.
John the Baptist is introduced to us by Mark. Mark quotes from Isaiah and Malachi. A messenger is to come to prepare the way. In the gospel, the messenger is the Baptist, Jesus is the coming of Yahweh… “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord”.
The credentials of John are clearly established from the Old Testament. Mark now introduces John’s teaching. John is a preacher. John’s message is repentance, the very message that Jesus will take up and will be preached by his disciples. John and Jesus and his disciples are related in that they all preach repentance. The whole reference to John as the one who preaches to prepare for the coming of Yahweh is focused on Jesus when John points to the One who is stronger than he, who works out of the Spirit of God.
John lived in the wilderness. This is in contrast to his parents who lived in the hill country of Judea. He left the soft life for the barren lands. He lived off the land. His penitential life was well known. Later the Pharisees were to challenge Jesus about this!!!!
John is only the messenger. He always pointed to the One who is to come ‘who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit’.