Summary: We see immediately Mark showing the Messiah has arrived.
The Messiah Has Arrived
In 1996, the staff at the Bridger Wilderness Area in the in Wyoming received the following responses on comment cards from hikers on their trails.
Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands.
Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.
Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the areas of these pests.
A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed?
A MacDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.
The places where trails do not exist are not well marked.
Too many rocks in the mountains. (Mike Neifert, Light and Life, February 1997, p. 27; www.PreachingToday.com)
For many we forget that life is hard, marked with struggles and difficulties.
The Christian life is no different, Jesus did not live an easy life, instead a life that was often marked with struggles.
Mark is writing this gospel to a group of Roman Christians who are experiencing in many ways the persecution of the Roman Empire.
This fits very well with the call that is on all our lives as believers, that Jesus gives us later in the gospel:
Mark 8:34 “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Mark’s gospel is very unique because He presents Jesus as the awesome powerful Savior over all nature, Satan and man.
1. Focuses on more of the actions of Jesus than His teachings
2. Focuses in on how Jesus prepares disciples for ministry
3. Focuses in on a high view of Jesus. Many throughout the gospel of Mark will testify that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God.
So this morning when we come to Chapter 1 we see immediate action, we see Christ coming on the scene and His ministry is set forth on the loose.
We come to verse 1 and we read these words:
Mark is showing his readers that a new beginning is here, that God is revealing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Now notice the title that Mark uses for Jesus:
Jesus = from the Hebrew name Joshua which means The Lord is salvation
Christ = anointed one
Son of God = shows the deity of Christ, that Christ is fully God and fully man.
Already Mark is showing us that in his gospel, will be the good news of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
When we move into the next few verses we see a man by the name of John the Baptist doing something unusual:
II. Questions of the Text:
A: Who is this John the Baptist?
Well we see that Mark unlike Luke and Matthew is not concerned with John’s parents, birth, or the ethics of his teaching.
Instead what we see very early is John is a prophet of God with a mission to prepare people for the coming Christ.
His message is a message that is very radical for the day and time.
In the history of the Jews no one has ever called them to be baptized.
For baptism was seen as something for Gentiles who converted to Judaism.
The Jews believed that Gentiles were defiled and needed to be immersed in baptism order to be cleansed from their impurities.
So this act was startling because the Jews were admitting, that they needed to repent and place their faith in God.
But John is calling all of Israel to be baptized, he is preaching, heralding, proclaiming a need for all to repent and be baptized.
Just as today our gospel is to go out to the nations.
Notice in verse 5 that droves of people were showing up to hear this message, they have never heard.
B: What does his baptism mean?
We see John is calling others to be baptized, a baptism of repentance.
v. 4 “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins”
v.4 “repentance” = means to return to God and change one’s course of life.
Repentance includes a change of mind, will and action
v.4 “remission of sins” = forgiveness, it means to send your sins away.
It is amazing that when you ask God to forgive you and you repent of your sin, God sends your sins away.
Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Micah 7:19, “He will again have compassion on us, you will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea.”
When you repent, and ask for forgiveness then God forgives you of the sin in your life, and guilt is something that you no longer bear.