John the Baptist: Preparing the Way-Mark 1:1-8

Mark 1:1-8 “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” 4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The 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. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And 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. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Marco 1:1-8 « Inizio del vangelo di Gesù Cristo {Figlio di Dio}. 2 Secondo quanto è scritto nel profeta Isaia:«Ecco, io mando davanti a te il mio messaggero che preparerà la tua via.3 Voce di uno che grida nel deserto: “Preparate la via del Signore, raddrizzate i suoi sentieri”».4 Venne Giovanni il battista nel deserto predicando un battesimo di ravvedimento per il perdono dei peccati. 5 E tutto il paese della Giudea e tutti quelli di Gerusalemme accorrevano a lui ed erano da lui battezzati nel fiume Giordano, confessando i loro peccati. 6Giovanni era vestito di pelo di cammello, con una cintura di cuoio intorno ai fianchi, e si nutriva di cavallette e di miele selvatico. 7 E predicava, dicendo: «Dopo di me viene colui che è più forte di me; al quale io non sono degno di chinarmi a sciogliere il legaccio dei calzari. 8 Io vi ho battezzati con acqua, ma lui vi battezzerà con lo Spirito Santo».
     Each of the four Gospel writers starts out with a little different approach. Mark begins immediately declaring that the Gospel (a word derived from the Old Testament words “good news” and mentioned twelve times) has its beginning in Jesus Christ. The good news is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Mark then reinforces his initial statement by supporting it with two well-known prophecies from (Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1). These prophecies are fulfilled in the life and ministry of John the Baptist.
     Mark sees John as the prophetic messenger God sent to prepare the way for the Son of God. It was a common practice in ancient history to send a messenger ahead of time to a place before the arrival of a king. The messenger’s role was to prepare the people for the coming king. John does just that. He comes on the scene with the message of repentance, forgiveness and baptism but takes no glory for himself. John knew his role and purpose. When people wanted to elevate him, he told them he was not worthy to tie the sandals of the coming king (v. 7), a task not even required by slaves for their masters. Not only was he preparing and preaching, he was also prophesying. The closing verse of this introduction about John tells us that he prophesied that Jesus would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit. In the opening verses of the Gospel of Mark, John tells us that the Father sent the Son, the prophecies declare it and the Holy Spirit confirms it. What a marvelous message to begin the Gospel of Mark!
Pray with me: Lord, as I look at the life of John the Baptist and his role in preparing the way for Jesus, help me to follow his example in preparing the way for others to be ready when Jesus passes their way.

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