Year 2 Day 16
Read - Mark 1:2-4
Message - Alan Burke
Before Mark tells us more about the good news of ‘Jesus Christ, the Son of God’ he tells us of another man John the Baptist. As he does so he helps us to understand that what he speaks of is not unconnected to what has come before, rather this was all part of God’s plan in bringing salvation by giving us a quotation. Or rather it is a tapestry of three prophecies, from Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1 in verse 2 and in verse 3 Isaiah 40:3. Each part of it tells us something significant, Exodus 23:20 contains God’s promise to send his messenger before the Israelites on their Exodus through the desert to Canaan. Isaiah 40:3 speaks of a second Exodus through the desert to the final deliverance prepared for God’s people. Malachi 3:1 warns that God will send a messenger to prepare the way before him prior to the coming of the day of judgment. All of these direct us to how the one who Mark now speaks of was the one sent by God to prepare the way for the Lord himself to come.
What we learn is that John was a baptiser. At the time those who were converted to Judaism were baptised as a right of initiation, other baptisms were more of a ritual washing, but John’s baptism was different because it was a visible sign that signified moral and spiritual renewal. We also learn that he proclaimed a message of Repentance. It was a simple message, no doubt there was more said than ‘repentance for the forgives of sin’. Rather it was a more urgent call that that of the prophets for the imminent judgement of God was upon them which is the point Mark makes when he uses the Malachi quotation.
What we learn from John in the other gospels (see Lk 3 :7-9) is that he didn’t beat about the bush, he called a spade a spade, if this was today, there is no way that John would have ever become moderator of the Presbyterian Church. For he called those who were coming to him, “You brood of vipers!” I should try shouting that to the congregation on Sunday and see what happens. John was saying things like this to what we would today call ‘Church people’ just like you and me. Those had grown up in the faith, they kept all the outward visible signs of belonging to the people of God and John lays into them calling them to repent. You may think that’s John’s message, that’s not the message of Jesus, well look down to verse in verse 14 we are told… After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Unless we have repented of our sin there is no salvation.
Q 30 How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, (Eph. 1:13–14, John 6:37–39, Eph. 2:8) and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling. (Eph. 3:17, 1 Cor. 1:9)