When Mark writes in the first chapter about a mysterious man entering the scene, instantly the reader recognizes there’s something very different about Jesus. He comes into the picture not as a rock star but rather as someone humble, kind, and yet, still kingly. Mark describes the people who are drawn toward this man as regular people who have become affected by the character, passion, and light of this strange Galilean.
Maybe that’s why Mark jumps right into the action of Jesus’ story. He offers little by way of introduction. He writes nothing about Jesus’ family tree. Unlike Matthew and Luke, he doesn’t mention His birth. Mark’s retelling begins with Scripture and the preaching of John the Baptist who calls people to repent. Like all the greats of history, Jesus doesn’t just arrive—He is announced—and who better than John to do that? Right before Jesus makes His entrance into Mark’s narrative, John says, “I’ve washed you here with water, but when He gets here, He will wash you in the Spirit of God.”
1 This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King, the Son of God.
2 Isaiah the prophet told us what would happen before He came:
Watch, I will send My messenger in front of You to prepare Your way and make it clear and straight.[a] 3 You’ll hear him, a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Eternal One, a straight way in the wandering desert, a highway for our God.”[b]
4 That messenger was John the Baptist,[c] who appeared in the desert near the Jordan River preaching that people should be ritually cleansed through baptism with water as a sign of both their changed hearts[d] and God’s forgiveness of their sins. 5 People from across the countryside of Judea and from the city of Jerusalem came to him and confessed that they were deeply flawed and needed help, so he cleansed[e] them with the waters of the Jordan. 6 John dressed as some of the Hebrew prophets had, in clothes made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. He made his meals in the desert from locusts and wild honey. 7 He preached a message in the wilderness.
John the Baptist: Someone is coming who is a lot more powerful than I am—One whose sandals I’m not worthy to bend down and untie. 8 I’ve washed you here through baptism[f] with water; but when He gets here, He will wash[g] you in the Spirit of God.
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