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 intheir own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, andlaying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, thedisciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writingwhat had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul,recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, thedisciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himselfpublish 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.