Summary: Imagine having the privilege of introducing a famous cousin to an audience. That was John’s task – he was to introduce the most famous person in all of history – his cousin Jesus.
Jesus’ Cousin John
The Book of Mark
I. Isn’t it great to have cousins?
A. I can remember when we were young we would go visit our relatives once in a while.
1. It was always fun to hang around with my cousins who were the same age but had different circumstances from ours.
a) Some lived in the suburbs like we did.
b) Others lived in the city or the country.
2. Some we saw occasionally others more often.
B. Jesus and John probably saw one another occasionally when they were growing up.
C. Jesus lived some 70 miles north of where John lived but it was the custom of his parents to go to Jerusalem during the feast time so they would have gotten together sometimes during those early years.
D. Can you imagine having a famous cousin?
1. Perhaps a famous entertainer.
2. A Governmental leader
3. Or a well known Christian leader.
E. Imagine having the privilege of introducing that famous cousin to an audience.
F. That was John’s task – he was to introduce the most famous person in all of history – his cousin Jesus.
II. Let me tell you about Jesus’ cousin John
A. Many people know John as that eccentric, unusual character who dresses strangely and who had unusual eating habits.
B. In movies he is portrayed as a wild eyed preacher who goes around dunking people in the river.
C. He is really a very important transitional figure in scripture.
1. He is the embodiment of the OT Prophets who foretold the coming of the messiah.
2. He is given the privilege of actually introducing Him to the world.
3. This is significant because of the way Mark introduces him.
a) He uses words and phrases which indicate the John was a herald sent to proclaim the arrival of a King.
b) This wasn’t just some guy who had a call to ministry and just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
c) He was an integral part of God’s plan all along.
d) After 200 long years God was once again speaking to the people.
D. Forerunner of Jesus
1. He had a miraculous birth like his cousin.
a) Luke tells us that:
(1) His father was a priest and his mother was barren.
(2) Both his father and mother were beyond child bearing.
(3) An angel told his father he would in fact have a son and he was told to name him John.
b) John was 6 mo. older than Jesus.
2. His ministry was foretold by the prophets vs.2-3.
a) This is the only place in the book that Mark directly quotes the OT.
b) John’s ministry was to introduce people to Christ.
(1) His ministry was one of warning and preparation vs.2-8.
(2) His ministry was one of proclaiming the coming of one greater than himself vs.7.
(3) He lived a lifestyle that was akin to the prophets.
(a) He had a life and message that drew people to him vs.5.
(b) He didn’t have the slick look of the Pharisees and Sadducees
E. He had a message to preach.
1. It was a message of preparation and repentance vs.3, 4.
a) Israel had been moving away from the Lord for a long time.
(1) It started after the reign of David.
(2) It finally culminated in the exile of the entire nation to Babylon.
(3) Isaiah’s Prophecy was a look forward to the time of restoration but they never quite reached that point.
(4) Malachi was still looking for it post exile.
b) They needed to be called back to the Lord.
c) John was the messenger sent to call them in preparation for the coming of his Cousin.
a) He wasn’t calling them to reform their ways
b) Repentance doesn’t mean to feel sorry for what you do.
c) Repentance is a changing of the mind.
d) A desire to reverse your course.
(1) Sometimes brought about by being confronted with your sin.
(2) Sometimes brought about by realizing the truth of something.
4. “Baptism of repentance”.
a) There has been a lot of confusion over the years concerning Baptism and salvation.
b) The misunderstanding comes from a misunderstanding of and an improper translation of the original language.
c) This baptism was different than any other in the Jewish tradition in that it was administered by another and was done in response to a repentant heart.
5. His message was one of change too vs.8.
a) John is saying that the one who he is introducing would baptize people into the HS.
(1) This was something new.
(2) In times past the Holy Spirit would come upon people.
(3) Now the Spirit would indwell people.