Summary: How do we prepare for the Lord’s Coming? How did John prepare? How does the baptism of the Holy Spirit prepare us for His Coming? What do we need to clear out of our way back to God?
How do we prepare for the Lord’s Coming? How did John prepare? How does the baptism of the Holy Spirit prepare us for His Coming? What do we need to clear out of our way back to God?
Purpose: To show how preparation was made for the highway back to God.
Plan: We will look at John the Baptist’s message in Mark 1:1-8.
Mark 1:1 The Good News
In ancient Rome the birthday of Emperors was proclaimed as good news. We too worship our politicians, but politics is not good news. Human beings boast great things, but in reality have no answers. The whole world is run by highly intelligent, very well-educated people who don't have a clue, because the real problems and their solutions are spiritual in nature, not carnal. Mark used familiar political language, but pointed to Christ not human political leaders. In contrast to this world's inability to solve its problems, “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” as it says in Mark 1:1. That is real good news.
A History Lesson
Babylon defeated nations and forced subject kingdoms to pay heavy tributes. Jerusalem rebelled against Babylonian rule and so were deported to Babylon. The Babylonian Captivity or Exile was a period of time when most Jews were deported from their land to Babylon. It began around 597 BC and ended during the reign of the Persian King Cyrus the Great around 539 BC. Modern Judaism descends from these captives. They tried to preserve their faith like a ghetto in a strange culture. They became very conscientious in their faith taking it to extremes. Babylon symbolizes worldly wealth without God (Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:1-2; 18:9-10; 18:21).
Mark 1:2-3 Message of Comfort
The message of Mark 1:2-3 begins in Isaiah 40:1-11. God instructs his angels to comfort his people, to reassure Jerusalem that her punishment will soon be over. Angels are building a road for us from Babylon to heavenly Jerusalem bringing exiles home. We are on a journey from Babylon on an angel highway back to God. Everything in this Babylon is fake news. Only one thing is true: God's Word. The bringer of good news cries out and announces God's triumphant return, like a warrior returning with power, bringing a reward with him. He gathers the little lambs of His flock into His arms and gently leads His sheep.
Mark 1:4 How Many Baptisms
How many baptisms are there? Mark 1:4-5, 8 mentions a baptism of repentance, a baptism in the Jordan and a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Elsewhere we read of a baptism of fire, the baptism of water, the baptism of John, and baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is like a washing (Acts 22:16) and a death (Romans 6:3-4). Jesus’ death on the cross was a baptism (Mark 10:38). Baptism is a spiritual circumcision (Colossians 2:11-15). Israel was baptized into Moses (1 Corinthians 10:2-5). However, there is essentially only one baptism (Ephesians 4:6) into Christ (Galatians 3:27).
Mark 1:8 Baptized with the Holy Spirit
Baptize literally means “to dip” but also non-literally we pass through the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:2), we wash dishes (Mark 7:4), Jesus was overwhelmed on the cross (Mark 10:38-39), the Old Testament contained ceremonial baptisms like sprinkling (Hebrews 9:10), and an outpouring of generosity is a baptism (Matthew 3:11). What does baptized in the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8) mean? Baptized with the Holy Spirit, Jesus sacrificed for us. A commercialized Christmas hides the real meaning of following the Christ child. If we claim we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and do not love by sacrificing for others, we are living a lie.
What do we need to clear out of our road back to heavenly Jerusalem? What do we need to clear out of the way for Christ to come? We have all been taken captive by Babylon. We have been deluded by the riches and glamour of an ungodly world. We have fallen into the world’s ways of wrong thinking and wrongdoing. Our Babylonian world is lost. He is coming to rescue us from Babylon and lead us on the road back to heavenly Jerusalem. Jesus said, I am the way. Are you coming?
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Mark 1:1-8; Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:1-2; 18:9-10; 18:21; Isaiah 40:1-11; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; Mark 10:38; Colossians 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 10:2-5; Ephesians 4:6; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 10:2; Mark 7:4; Mark 10:38-39; Hebrews 9:10; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8