Mark 1:1-11


Life of Christ #5



As we continue our series in the Life of Christ, after seeing Jesus as a boy in the temple last week, we are brought face to face with one of the most powerful preachers who ever lived.  His name was John the Baptist.


John the Baptist was a miracle baby, son of a woman named Elizabeth who was called “barren”.  He was also son of Zecharias, a Godly priest.  Zechariah was told about the birth of John, whose name means “God is gracious”, by the angel Gabriel, who appeared to him in the temple. Luke 1:15-17


The ministry of this power-packed preacher is seen in Mark 1:2-11. 


Vs. 1 – The Gospel of Mark is unique in that it has no introductory material concerning the Lord Jesus.  John tells us about the Jesus being preexistent eternally, and Matthew and Luke each give two chapters concerning his birth and what happened before his birth.  


Mark jumps in and says, “This is the good news about Jesus Christ who is the Son of God!” WHAM!  We are hit with the reality that we are entering the story of the Son of God, and Mark hits the deck running with it.


Mark is the Gospel of action and 19 times Mark uses the word “straightway” which means immediately. Mark keeps his story moving.



After just one verse Mark starts talking about the ministry of John the Baptist, the power-packed preacher who came as a forerunner to Jesus.


Mark tells us that the ministry of John the Baptist had been promised in the Old Testament. He quotes two passages: Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.


Vss. 2-3 –John the Baptist was sent to get the Jewish people ready for the coming of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Someone had to point attention to Jesus, and get them ready for His arrival.


When an emperor would visit a part of his Kingdom, a messenger was sent ahead.  One of his jobs was to get the roads that the emperor would travel on ready.  He prepared the way and made the paths straight.  Roads were mostly in poor condition and needed attention, especially if someone important had to travel on them.


The road that leads to a person’s heart is in poor shape as the heart is itself. Jeremiah 17:9

There are large boulders in the road – sins of commission, things which we have done wrong.

There are giant potholes in the road – sins of omission, things which we should have done but didn’t.


John was sent to get the people thinking of their need for a Savior.


Vs. 3 – John’s ministry was in the wilderness along the Jordon River.  He was crying from the wilderness and people came to him. Sometimes people have to get away from their normal routine before they will see that they have a need.


And notice that John was getting people ready to receive Jesus.  John was always pointing to Jesus.




Vs. 4 – John had a two-fold ministry.

             First John preached.

He preached the need for repentance, before the arrival of the coming Messiah.

Second, John baptized.


John’s preaching was not pleasant.  He did not tickle ears. Luke 3:7-9


John called the people to repentance.

Repentance is a change of mind about sin that leads to a change in behavior.

Someone who is truly sorry for sin, will confess it, and forsake it.   


John was preaching repentance and baptism.

This was a baptism in preparation for the coming Messiah.

The word baptism means to dip or immerse.


The person who was baptized was publicly professing repentance.

A person repented, indicated repentance by baptism, and their sins were remitted. They were dismissed! They were sent away.


How is baptism today different from John’s baptism?

John’s baptism was in view of the coming Messiah.

Our baptism is in view that Messiah has come.

We are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Our baptism is the ultimate testimony that our faith is in Christ.

We are not to be baptized in order to be saved.

We are to be baptized because we are saved!


Vs. 5 – John’s ministry was a success.

It was Negative in many ways because he rebuked sin.

It was successful because they confessed their sins, or agreed with God about their sins, and were baptized.

And the sheer number of people who responded!

One estimate is about 300,000 people were baptized by John.


Vs. 6 – John’s clothing was rugged, the attire of a wilderness dweller.


It was similar to the clothing worn by Elijah the prophet.

In fact John was the fulfillment of a promise that Elijah would come. Malachi 4:5


John’s diet was very austere. Locusts and wild honey were his fare.  Not exactly what we call great food.


For John it was not a time for fancy clothes.

For John it was not the time for a fancy diet.

John had serious business to carry out!  People needed to ready for the coming Messiah.


Today people need to be ready for the coming Messiah.

Jesus is coming back, and we need to be ready. Luke 12:40


Unsaved people need to become ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus by trusting Him for forgiveness and eternal life. John 3:36


Those of us who know Jesus as Savior need also be ready for his coming. Titus 2:11-13

It is time for Christians to repent.

It is time for Christians to confess sin, forsake sin, and live a Godly life until Jesus comes.

James 4:4, 8-10


Vs. 7 – In effect, John is saying, “You think I’m a mighty

             preacher? You haven’t seen anything yet!”


“The one that’s coming after me is so mighty that I am not even worthy enough to unloose his sandals, the most menial job that a servant can do!”


If we compare ourselves to John the Baptist, none of us would compare favorably.  He was far holier, far more committed than we are.

So, if John was not worthy enough to untie the sandals of the Son of God, where does that put us?

Where would we be without the grace of God?


Vs. 8 – John baptized with water.

            Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit is the part of God that takes up residence inside of it.  Jesus promised that the Spirit would indwell believers, and He has! John 7:38-29, 1 Corinthians 12:13


As a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives we have been blessed.

We have the blessing of the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23


·        We have the blessing of the instruction of the Spirit. John 16:33


·        We have the blessing of the intercession of the Spirit. Romans 8:26-27


We have the blessing of the power of the Spirit   Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:16




What was John’s greatest moment of ministry?

Vs. 9 – It was the day, that John the servant, baptized Jesus,

            the Son of God. John didn’t want to do it! Matthew 3:14-15


John knew who Jesus was, the Son of God.

I believe John knew that Jesus was sinless.

John knew that Jesus had more right to baptize John, a sinner, than John did Jesus, who was sinless.


Jesus said that it had to be done to fulfill all righteousness!

Jesus was baptized so he could associate with our sins.

Jesus came to take our sins on His sinless shoulders.

Jesus’ baptism was symbolic that He was taking the responsibility for our sins.  He was identifying with us and our sins.


If Jesus confessed sins when he was baptized, He would have confessed the sins of the whole world.

Baptism was a symbol of death, dying to sin, rising to new life.

Jesus’ baptism was a picture that He would die for our sins and rise again. 2 Corinthians 5:21


Vs. 10 – The presence of the Holy Spirit rested upon the Lord Jesus.  He would minister in the power of the Holy Spirit? 

How can we do less?   

We should be constantly asking for the Holy Spirit’s power to be manifest in our lives.


Vs. 11 – God gave his approval!

               This is my Son!  I’m pleased!

God was pleased not only because Jesus was obedient, but because He wanted to please His Heavenly Father.


John 4:34 - Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.


May this be our goal too!