Past Issues

Jesus -- the Messiah # 2

Before we go on with the story of Jesus, Mark directs our attention to another prophet of God who lived at the same time and in the same place as Jesus.

Read Mark 1:2-8.
2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"— 3 "a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " 4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And 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. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."


Here are some notes to help you understand this passage:

vv. 2-3 – 700 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had spoken about the age when the
Messiah would come. He said that there would be a prophet who would “prepare the way for the Lord.” Already then, it was clear that the Messiah would be special. He would be “the Lord.”

vv. 4-5 – This messenger of God who would prepare the way for the Messiah was called John. He called people to repent, to change their lives. Baptism (ceremonial washing by immersing a person completely in water) was a common ritual used at that time when people were entering a new religion or a new commitment to God. John used this ritual to help people express the new life they wanted to lead in obedience to God.

v. 6 – In the last verses of the Old Testament in the book of Malachi, it is predicted that the one who comes to prepare the way for the Messiah will be like the “father of the prophets,” Elijah. Mark makes this connection very clear by pointing out how John even dressed like that prophet from over 800 years ago (II Kings 1:8).

vv. 7-8 – John made it clear that he was only the predecessor (forerunner) to the Great One soon to come. This Messiah was so important that God was sending a prophet just to announce Him.
John also made clear that the baptism of Jesus would be different. John’s baptism was an outward symbol of people’s decision to change their lives, “but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Holy Spirit means God himself, not an angel). Jesus will be immersing us into a whole new Presence and Power of God.

Why do you think God would send a prophet to prepare the way for Jesus? How does that show that Jesus is special?

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