Summary: Jesus ministry to serve and ransom mankind was not spontaneous, but well-orchestrated –as we see in today’s text. We can see at least three persons or categories involved in the early stage of his ministry.
The Dawning of Messiah’s Mission
1. The Church Father Iraneus,before 200 A.D., “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”
2. We introduced Mark last week against the backdrop of the other Gospels.
Main Idea: Jesus ministry to serve and ransom mankind was not spontaneous, but well-orchestrated –as we see in today’s text. We can see at least three persons or categories involved in the early stage of his ministry.
I. Sinners: Immersed to Prepare by REPENTANCE (1-6)
A. The Gospel BEGINS with Jesus (1)
1. Term can mean any announcement of good news, but more specific
2. He is the Christ
3. He is the Son of God
B. John’s ministry was PROPHESIED by Isaiah (2-3)
C. He BAPTIZED the repentant (4a)
1. Ritual immersion well known & practiced by Jews today
2. Hillel: saved when repent & believe, a Jew when immersed
D. His message was the forgiveness came through REPENTANCE (teshuva) (4b)
1. Some of you have unbelievable backgrounds…
2. All of us still struggle with sin, and God works within us even as believers
3. Repentance is an embarkment, not a completed journey; we are boarding the vessel of repentance, but we are still a long way from port…
E. His ministry was HUGE (5)
1. More Jews responded to John than to Jesus…
2. One religion exists to this day that reveres John as their main prophet:
The Mandaeans were originally native speakers of Mandaic, a Semitic language that evolved from Eastern Middle Aramaic, before switching to colloquial Iraqi Arabic and Modern Persian. Mandaic is mainly preserved as a liturgical language. During the century's first decade the indigenous Mandaic community of Iraq, which used to number 60-70,000 persons, collapsed in the aftermath of the Iraq War of 2003; most of the community relocated to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan… proclaiming the chief Mandaean prophet to be John the Baptist, [Wikipedia]
F. John was NOT seeker-sensitive (6)
1. Location: bad (wilderness)
2. Clothing: unstylish
3. No music
4. Called people snakes and vipers and demanded proof of repentance
5. But it was centered on the Messiah and God’s promises; the condition of the heart was his emphasis!
Application: We must come to God with repentance, a conviction of sin and the desire to live in a way that pleases God. If we come to God thinking we are making the grade or are higher than most, we haven’t got the real disease. We are comparing ourselves to others, not God’s holy standard. Others will not judge us.
No, the salvation Jesus provided was planned by God in great detail.
II. John: Anticipating the Holy ONE (3, 7-8)
A. He came to PREPARE (3)
B. His success did not keep him from EXALTING Jesus (7)
1. The proudest people often talk about how they are not wanting glory
2. John did not put himself down, but he exalted the One Who would come
3. He said he must decrease and Jesus must increase, but to decrease, you must have something to decrease from…
4. Don’t play the humility game… stay in touch with reality/perspective instead
C. He knew the difference between SYMBOL and actuality (8)
Josephus wrote, “For Herod had put him (John the Baptist) to death, though he was a good man and had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous lives, to practice justice towards their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing to join in baptism. In his view this was a necessary preliminary if baptism was to be acceptable to God. They must not employ it to gain pardon for whatever sins they committed, but as a consecration of the body implying that the soul was already thoroughly cleansed by right behavior.”
D. It is all about JESUS, not us
We’ve coined words like radical, crazy, missional, gospel-centered, revolutionary, organic, and a host of other buzzwords to let everyone know that our tribe is far more biblical, committed, and pleasing to the Lord than the deluded masses who fail to match up. [Osborne, Larry; Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith]
Application: Never allow churchianity, religion, success, or noteriety replace Jesus. It is absurd to think that anybody or anything can compare.
No, the salvation Jesus provided was planned by God in great detail. It is Jesus.
III. Jesus: Officially COMMISSIONED (9-11)