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Those passages predicted this forerunner who would prepare the way of the LORD , this forerunner whom God would call My messenger. My messenger is important because this is the first authentically prophetic voice to Israel with the slight exceptions of Anna and Simeon in Luke 2 for years. If we wondered what Mark meant when he called Jesus the Son of God , here he clarified it.

Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight : The passage Mark quoted from Isaiah had in mind the building up of a great road for the arrival of a majestic king. The idea was to fill in the holes and to knock down the hills that are in the way. The idea of preparing the way of the LORD is a word picture because the real preparation must take place in our hearts. Building a road is very much like the preparation God must do in our hearts. They are both expensive, they both must deal with many different problems and environments, and they both take an expert engineer.

Jesus was the coming Messiah and King, and John the Baptist was the one crying in the wilderness. Through his message of repentance, he worked to prepare the way of the LORD. We often fail to appreciate how important the preparatory work of the LORD is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation. John wonderfully fulfilled this important ministry. John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins : This describes how John prepared the way.

He came baptizing , offering a ceremonial washing that confessed sin and did something to demonstrate repentance. As was the custom in some other Jewish ceremonial washings, John completely immersed those he baptized.

Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Mark 1

Baptism was already practiced in the Jewish community in the form of ceremonial immersions but typically it was only among Gentiles who wished to become Jews. It is being baptized into Christ , that is, into His death and resurrection Romans There were many people who recognized their sinfulness and their need to get ready for the Messiah. They were also willing to do something about it. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. John preached Jesus, not himself. John pointed to Jesus, not to himself. But John said this because in his day, the rabbis taught that a teacher might require just about anything of his followers, except to make them take off their sandals.

That was considered to be too much. But John said that he was not even worthy to do this for Jesus. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit : John recognized that his baptism was only a prelude to what Jesus would bring. The Messiah would bring an immersion in the Holy Spirit that was greater than the immersion in water as a demonstration of repentance.

Mark 1 Bible Commentary - Matthew Henry (concise)

It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan : Jesus was not baptized because He needed cleansing from sin; He was sinless, as John himself understood Matthew Instead, Jesus was baptized in keeping with His entire mission on earth: to do the will of the Father and to identify with sinful man.

He did both things to express His solidarity with fallen man. Immediately : The ancient Greek word is euthus , and this is the first of more than 40 times this word is used in the Gospel of Mark. You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : When this voice of God the Father spoke from heaven, everyone knew that Jesus was not just another man being baptized. They knew Jesus was the perfect in whom I am well pleased Son of God, identifying with sinful man. By this, everyone knew that Jesus was different.

Jesus was baptized to be identified with sinful man, but He was also baptized to be identified to sinful man.

The ancient Greek for this phrase is strong. Luke says, the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him. The Holy Spirit is associated with a dove because of Genesis , where the brooding of the Spirit over the waters at creation suggested to some ancient rabbis the action of a dove. Also, doves are gentle, non-threatening birds, they do not resist, and they do not fight back.

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It represents the gentle, faithful work of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the familiar passages of the New Testament that shows us the entire Trinity in action. So far in the Gospel of Mark we see four witnesses, each testifying to the identity of Jesus. What more evidence do we need?

Mark Bible Study - #1 - Introduction and Background

Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness : After the dramatic appearance of the Holy Spirit at His baptism, the work of the Spirit in Jesus was to lead Him — rather, to drive Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan : Jesus was identified with sinners in His baptism.

Here He was also identified with sinners in their temptations. Hebrews reminds us, For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Forty — as in the forty days of Jesus in the wilderness — is a number that often shows a time of testing or judgment. Israel was in the wilderness 40 years. Moses kept sheep in the wilderness for 40 years. Forty days, tempted by Satan : Matthew and Luke detail three specific temptations Jesus suffered in these days and how Jesus resisted Satan each time by standing on the Word of God.

Mark tells us that Jesus faced more than the three dramatic temptations described by Matthew and Luke. This entire period was a time of testing. Was with the wild beasts : Matthew and Luke make no mention of this, but it is significant.


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In the ancient Greek grammar, the emphasis is on with. In other words, Jesus was at peace with the wild beasts. This shows two things:. And the angels ministered to Him : The sense in Mark is that the angels ministered to Him at the end of this time of intense temptation. They are His servants. Jesus came to Galilee : Jesus spent most of His time in the region of Galilee , usually only going up to Jerusalem for the appointed feasts. Galilee was a large, populated area north of Judea and Jerusalem, where Jews and Gentiles lived together, though usually in their own distinct cities.

Galilee was not a small backwater region. According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, Galilee was an area of about 60 by 30 miles and had villages, with none less than 15, people.

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This means there were more than 3 million people in the extended region. Repent, and believe in the gospel. Most people wanted a political kingdom that would replace the oppressive occupation of the Romans. Contrary to the expectations of most people in His day, Jesus brought a kingdom of love, not subjugation; of grace, not law; of humility, not pride; for all men, not only the Jews; to be received voluntarily by man, not imposed by force.

The Gospel of Mark — and the rest of this chapter — will stress the work of Jesus and His wonderful miracles. Jesus was a preacher who did wonderful miracles, not a miracle worker who sometimes preached. Now was the time for them to encounter the kingdom of God.

The time is fulfilled : There are two ancient Greek words that can be translated time. One is chronos , meaning simple chronological time. Now is your time of opportunity. They could not enter the kingdom going the same way they had been going. They had to change their direction to experience the kingdom of God. Some people think that repentance is mostly about feelings , especially feeling sorry for your sin.

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Healing Two Women: Commentary on Mark 5:21-43

It is an action word. Jesus told us to make a change of the mind, not merely to feel sorry for what we have done. Repentance speaks of a change of direction, not a sorrow in the heart. Repentance does not describe something we must do before we come to God; it describes what coming to God is like. The kingdom Jesus preached was not just about a moral renewal. It was about trusting God, taking Him at His word, and living a relationship of dependence on Him.

The ancient Greek word Jesus used for believe pisteuo means much more than knowledge or agreement in the mind.

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It speaks of a relationship of trust and dependence. The kingdom of God is any situation where God's sovereignty, authority, power, and glory are manifest. Peter, James, and John experience this as they watch the transfigured Jesus speaking to Elijah and Moses and hear God say, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him" Mark Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois First, the entire discourse begins through questions posed by the disciples.