John Prepares the Way for the Messiah

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John Prepares the Way

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.( Hebrew 10:23)

Heavenly Father, we are standing on your promises and believe that you are able to bring Miracles into our life. Father, bless everyone participating in this Bible study. Provide, heal and meet every need. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Lesson: Mark 1:5

“Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.”

John‘s ministry met with wonderful response. There were many people who recognized their sinfulness, their need to get ready for the Messiah, and were willing to do something about it. John main message wasn’t “you’re a sinner, you need o repent” John’s main message was “ The Messiah is coming.” The call to repentance was the response to the news that the Messiah is coming.

John’s baptism was not linked with the ritual cleansing baths practiced by the Jews, but was an innovation. The Gk. word, baptizo, means to immerse, and is used in both literal and figurative senses in the N.T. John’s water baptism was the means by which individuals publicly: (1) identified with John’s message, (2) confessed a need for a personal change of heart, (3) committed themselves to live by O.T. standards of righteousness, and (4) expressed eagerness to welcome the Messiah whom John said was near. John’s baptism is not the same in nature or intent as Christian baptism, which symbolizes union with Christ in His death and resurrection.
Lesson: Mark 1:6

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.”

His garment was made out of the camel’s hair woven into a coarse fabric. It was recognized as a garb of the prophet. And is still worn in the East by the poor. The Lethern girdle about his loins seen around the body of the common laborer. It fastens the loose raiment about the waist. His Food was Locusts. Permitted to the Jews as an article of food. “These you may eat: the locust after its kind, the destroying locust after its kind, the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind.” (Lev 11:22) And is still used by the poorer class in Arabia,Egypt and Nubia.

Lesson: Mark 1:7

“And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.”

John stressed two points:

1.The Messiah was more “Worthy” and “Mightier” than he. He said Jesus was so great that he himself was not even worthy to stoop down and untie His shoes. This was an amazing declaration because one does not have to have much worth to untie somebody's shoes. In fact, in John's day, untying shoes was considered to be a slave's lowest duty − John wasn't worthy to be Jesus' humblest slave.

2.Jesus was Mightier in both person and work.

Lesson: Mark 1:8

“I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John baptism was with water. It was an external symbol, but produced no change in a person’s life. Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit, this baptism would produce a great in flow of Spiritual Power. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). Also, it would incorporate all believers into the church, the body of Christ. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13)

Thought for the Week

God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and many people from Judea came to him for baptism, confessing their sins. He also preached about One coming after him who was mightier, One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and not just with water. Then one day Jesus came from Nazareth, and John baptized Him. As he did, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, and a voice from heaven said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Here we have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all playing a part in the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Just as all three Persons were present and active in the creation of the world, they are present and active in the redemption of the world. The first man and woman God created sinned, bringing on all creation the penalty of sin and death, which continues to hold the world captive today. Paul tells us in Romans that we are groaning as we long for the redemption of our bodies. He also tells us that all creation groans as well, longing for the new heaven and earth. God broke into human history in the person of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the only Son of God, who for the joy set before Him voluntarily became man to identify with us and atone for our sins. Mark does not add details of Jesus’ birth, but Jesus was born of a virgin so that He did not inherit a sin nature from Adam. He was perfectly obedient; He committed no sin. Everyone else that John baptized confessed their sins. But Jesus, the sinless God incarnate, had no sins to confess. He didn’t need to be forgiven. Yet Jesus subjected Himself to John’s baptism of repentance, and God was pleased with Him. This event shows
Jesus’ identification with you and me, who do need to confess sins, who do need to repent, who do need to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who
through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Hebrews 2:14-15).

The Father’s testimony and the Spirit’s descent (just as a dove would descend) at Jesus’ baptism inaugurated Jesus’ redeeming work, which culminated in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God.

Following Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness for 40 days, where He was tempted by Satan. The other Gospels give details about the temptations, but Mark cuts right to the sequence—Jesus is baptized, and God is pleased; He is tempted, and angels minister to Him. Then the scene shifts right into Jesus’ public ministry. John had preached that people should repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Now Jesus announces that the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, and the people should repent and believe the gospel. The forerunner has done his work, preparing the way for the One who followed—the One who was mightier than John and is mightier than you, me, and even Satan. Jesus, the Son of God, has begun to call men and women to Himself, inviting them to follow Him, to believe in Him. He is ready now to reveal His power over sickness, over the spirit realm, and over the whole creation. The people who see and hear Jesus are amazed at His
authority. But they haven’t seen anything yet; He’s just begun!