"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Preaching Of John The Baptist (1:1-8) INTRODUCTION 1. The Gospel Of Mark begins with the work of John the Baptist... a. Which was foretold by Old Testament prophets - Mk 1:2-3 b. Which proved to be very successful - Mk 1:5 c. Which was cut short by his imprisonment - Mk 1:14 2. Though John's work was short-lived, it was clearly important... a. Each of the four gospels preface Jesus' ministry with that of John's b. Mark described it as "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ..." - Mk 1:1 [To understand the message and ministry of Jesus Christ, we must start with the one sent to "prepare the way of the Lord". In this study we shall begin by observing what we can regarding...] I. THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST A. HIS PURPOSE... 1. To fulfill the prophecy of Malachi - Mk 1:2 a. As the Lord's messenger to prepare His way - Mal 3:1a b. Also concerning the sending of Elijah
- cf. Mal 4:5-6; Mt 17:10-13 2. To fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah - Mk 1:3 a. Which was to "prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" - Isa 40:3 b. I.e., to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah -- John's purpose was to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord" B. HIS MESSAGE... 1. He came baptizing in the wilderness - Mk 1:4 a. The wilderness of Judea - Mt 3:1 b. Baptizing in the Jordan River - Mt 3:6 c. In Bethabara (Bethany) on the east side of the Jordan - Jn1:28 d. Later, in Aenon near Salim (west side of Jordan), where there was much water - Jn 3:23 2. He preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins - Mk 1:4 a. A baptism of repentance, literally "a change of mind" 1) Prompted by godly sorrow - 2 Co 7:10 2) Followed by a zealous desire to do right - cf. 2 Co 7:11 b. A baptism for the remission of sins 1) That sins might be forgiven (ultimately through Christ's death - He 9:15) 2) Similar to what Christ and His apostles taught - Mk 16: 15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16 -- John's message called for repentance and baptism for the remission of sins C. HIS SUCCESS... 1. All of Judea, Jerusalem, etc., went to him - Mk 1:5a 2. They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins - Mk 1:5b -- John's success may have also included the thief on the cross - cf. Lk 23:39-43 D. HIS LIFESTYLE... 1. Clothed with camel's hair and a leather belt - Mk 1:6a 2. Diet of locusts and wild honey - Mk 1:6b 3. John came "in the spirit and power of Elijah" - cf. 2 Kin 1:8; Lk 1:17 -- John's lifestyle reflected the seriousness and sternness of his message (Erdman) E. HIS PROMISE... 1. One mightier than he is coming - Mk 1:7 a. Whose sandal strap he was not worthy to stoop down and loose b. Note John's humility and attitude of servitude 2. Who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit - Mk 1:8 a. Yes, John did indeed baptize with water with repentance b. But one (Jesus) was coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit! 3. This refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit a. Promised also by Jesus; fulfilled at Pentecost - cf. Ac 1: 4-5; 2:1-4,16-17,33 b. With lasting effects for all who come to Christ - cf. Ti 3: 4-6; 1 Co 12:13 -- John's promise bespoke of greater blessings to come! [The preaching of John the Baptist was well received by those in Judea and Jerusalem. Those who received his message were well prepared for the coming of the Lord. But I have often wondered...] II. WOULD WE HAVE RECEIVED JOHN'S PREACHING? A. FROM A MAN WHO... 1. Required people to go into the wilderness to hear him? - Mk 1: 4-5 2. Dressed and ate like an eccentric hermit ("he has a demon!")? - Mk 1:6; cf. Mt 11:18 3. Called religious people coming to be baptized a "brood of vipers"? - cf. Mt 3:7 -- Would we have given heed to such a "harsh hermit"? B. I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT IF... 1. We balk at traveling some distance to study God's Word! a. As when we live far from the church building b. Or making the effort to attend both services on Sunday, plus the midweek study c. Or going to gospel meetings at other congregations d. What will the Queen of Sheba say of us? - cf. Mt 12:42 2. We tend to judge people by the clothes they wear! a. Both young and old are quick to judge by one's appearance b. We need to remember God's perspective - 1 Sa 16:7 c. Partiality based on appearance makes one a judge with evil thoughts - Ja 2:1-4 3. We get upset or offended when a preacher points out our faults! a. Some would have preachers to never preach negative sermons b. But Jesus demonstrated that occasions sometimes call it - cf. Mt 23:13-15 -- If these things are true of us today, would we have heeded John then? CONCLUSION 1. The preaching of John the Baptist had an important purpose... a. To "prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight" b. This he did by emphasizing repentance and baptism 2. Because of John, people were more likely to heed the call of Jesus... a. To repent of their sins - cf. Mk 1:15 b. To believe the gospel and be baptized - cf. Mk 16:15-16 3. John's manner of life and style of preaching should not be forgotten... a. For many turn the message of Jesus Christ into a form of "easy-believism" b. John reminds us of the need to bear fruits in keeping with true repentance As Jesus would say later, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Lk 6:46). Are we showing true acceptance of Jesus as Lord by doing the things He says...?