Summary: Mark jumps right into the life and ministry of Jesus, proclaiming Him as the Son of God. The Gospel opens with John the Baptist, preaching a message of repentance in preparation for the coming of Christ. He too proclaimed His deity.
Jesus Christ Proclaimed
Mark 1: 1-8
As we begin our study in Mark’s Gospel, it is interesting to note that he doesn’t offer any genealogy of Christ, the events surrounding His birth, or any details about His childhood. These would have been essential to reach a Jewish audience, but Mark is writing with a Gentile audience in mind. He jumps right in, immediately proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1 – The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark identified Him as Jesus, meaning “Jehovah is salvation.” He proclaimed Him as Christ, the “Jewish Messiah; the Anointed One.” He also affirmed that Jesus was in fact the Son of God.
Mark declares to the reader that he intends to discuss the “gospel” of Jesus Christ. These opening words mark the beginning of the accounts surrounding the Gospel or “good news” of Jesus Christ. As we begin a verse by verse study of Mark’s Gospel, I want to examine the details of this opening scene as we consider: Jesus Christ Proclaimed.
I. A Prophecy Fulfilled (2-3) – Although Mark is appealing to a Gentile audience, he doesn’t abandon or neglect the Jewish association or biblical prophecy regarding Christ. Clearly he seeks to reveal Jesus as the Christ, Savior and Redeemer of the world to all who will believe upon Him by faith. He begins by discussing a fulfilment of prophecy regarding Christ. Consider:
A. John’s Purpose (2) – As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Mark spoke of prophecy given hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus concerning a prophet, sent from God, to prepare the way for Jesus. Mal.3:1 – Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. This messenger was John the Baptist, sent to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry upon earth. John began to lay the groundwork for Jesus, calling on the people to repent of their sin and prepare for the coming of Christ the Lord, the Redeemer of men.
B. John’s Preaching (3) – The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Mark also spoke of the message John faithfully preached prior to Jesus arriving on the scene. He was a lone voice, crying out in the desert places, calling the people to prepare for the coming of Messiah. Isaiah 40:3 – The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Few properly understand the life and ministry of John the Baptist. Although his life is recorded in the New Testament, following the silent years from Malachi to Matthew, he is actually the last of the Old Testament prophets. At this time in Israel’s history, the Jews had become complacent and lost sight of genuine worship and service to the Lord. They found themselves consumed in a form of dead religion that promoted particular rituals and adherence to the law, instead of a personal, fulfilling relationship with the Lord. John came preaching against dead, orthodox religion, proclaiming the coming of Christ!
Sadly there are many similarities within modern society and the environment John faced. Many pastors and congregations are more concerned with humanism or long held legalism than doctrinal preaching consistent with the Bible. We need men in our day like John, who will proclaim the truths of God’s Word instead of the popular, accepted topics and trends of our day!
II. A Prophet Revealed (4-6) – Mark dealt with the life and ministry of John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets. Notice:
A. His Message (4b) – John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. John preached a message of repentance for the remission of sins. He confronted the people regarding their sinful lives. Repentance has the idea of “a reversal; a change in life that results in a change in action.” He declared that repentance would result in the remission of sins. Those who repented of sin would experience forgiveness and pardon from their sin.
This too is a message that is little shared today, but it needs to be honestly proclaimed. Men of God need to preach a message of repentance. The world is being led to believe they can live as they please without consequence. They have the idea they are accountable to no one. Repentance, admitting and turning from sin, is essential for salvation!