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Summary: As Mark's Gospel opens, we find that the stage is almost set for Jesus' ministry to begin. John the Baptist is on the scene. He was there to prepare the way so that the people would be ready to receive the King.

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Mark 1:1-8

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."' John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, 'After me comes One who is mightier than I, and I am not even fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'" (Mark 1:1-8)

When you don't know where to start, start at the beginning. That is what Mark does. He begins his gospel at the beginning. In verse 1 he says, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." It is the beginning of his Gospel. But it all didn't simply begin here. In the beginning of creation, as Adam and Eve sinned, God was already speaking of the coming of the One who would crush the head of the serpent. Then, in the Old Testament prophets, God spoke again concerning the One who would come as the forerunner; one like Elijah: John the Baptist. Verses 2 and 3 say, "As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, 'Behold I send my messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."'

So, as Mark's Gospel opens, we find that the stage is almost set for Jesus' ministry to begin. John the Baptist is on the scene. He was there to prepare the way so that the people would be ready to receive the King. He was a voice crying in the wilderness. He was God's bulldozer, sent to build a highway to God; to level hills, raise valleys, straighten crooked ways, and smooth the rough places. His message would be the road on which the Lord would ride in.

When we find John, we find him in the wilderness. It was not that John couldn't find a place to preach in the city. God had sent him to preach in the wilderness. I find this interesting. You see, this is not the wisdom of the world. Some would say that this was not the wisest move, at least if you were looking at it from a marketing viewpoint. I mean, how many people could you draw to the wilderness? Surely the city would be a better place to begin. But the wisdom of God is wiser than the wisdom of man. Not only did the people come, they came in droves. But this raises another interesting question: "Why did they come?" They came because of the message which was being preached.We want to focus on the message which John preached. Let's turn our attention to two aspects of this message: its allure and its authority.


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