Summary: John the Baptist came not for his own glory, but to point others to the glory of Christ.
A Study of the Gospel of Mark
March 2, 2008
Me: I have witnessed this week people who have devoted their entire lives to caring for others. As you may know, I have spent this week in the hospital in Mississippi caring for my father. While I was there I saw members of my family, nurses, doctors, care assistants all giving of their time, energy, and pride to care for my dad.
When you observe these things, it helps you to begin to see that true service and humility are a calling. It is something innate inside of us that cause us to be willing to serve at that level.
You: Think about the people in your life who serve in such amazing ways. How do you feel about those people? Aren’t you glad that they do the things that God called them to do?
Today we are going to continue in our study of the book of Mark by looking in more detail about the birth and ministry of John the Baptist.
As we recap last week we found that John was preaching for repentance of sin. People were flocking into the desert to hear him and to be baptized by him.
We really need to ask the question, why was John doing what he was doing and why was he so successful?
“John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Mark 1:6-8
John is a prophet of God. He is a desert preacher who very much fit the profile of the first century men who called people back to God.
What we need to understand is that John was born for one purpose: to point people to Jesus.
Let’s look at some background of John. His father Zechariah was a priest and his mother Elizabeth was a devout follower of God. They were advanced in years and had no children. Zechariah went into the temple to burn the sacrificial incense and an angel came and spoke a vision to him.
Zechariah questioned the angel and was mute for the entire duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.
Then, the time came for John to be born.
Everyone knew that John had been born with a purpose. They knew at some level God was with this child.
Zechariah had an entirely different understanding.
John grew up understanding that he had been created for a special purpose.
The practical point: God has uniquely equipped you for a purpose.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
The danger we have is when we begin to believe that our purpose ad our image and our position is greater than God’s.
John had developed a huge following. He had hundreds who thought that even he might be he messiah. Look at John’s response.
"After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.” Mark 1:7
John recognized that Christ and his purpose was greater than his own.