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The Importance of John The Baptist

Doing Bible study is like filming a movie. There are many hours of film that are never used in the final production. Sometime entire scenes are cut. The director has to make choices and edit the film to tell the best story in the right amount of time. In Bible study you spend a lot of time doing research and making observations about the text. That work isn’t the final product. It leads to the goal which is understanding the main point of a passage.
editing John the Baptist into Jesus' story

It’s time to step back and take a look at all of our research in our study of Mark 1:1-8. Our posts on this topic have been just an overview. We could have gone into much more detail in every aspect of our study. Here is my summary statement of what I believe the original audience understood as they read Mark 1:1-8:

The good news of Jesus begins with John the Baptist fulfilling a role predicted in the Old Testament of a prophetic messenger preparing the way for Jesus, the Messiah, by effectively preaching the forgiveness of sins.

Let’s break this summary statement down into its parts.

Mark 1:1-8 and John The Baptist

  • Mark’s good news is about Jesus but begins with John the Baptist. Note that Matthew and Luke begin with Jesus’ birth. Mark will tell Jesus’ story in a different way from them.
  • Mark validates both John the Baptist and Jesus by connecting them to Old Testament predictions made hundreds of years before their lives.
  • John had a very public ministry. Large crowds from the most populated area of Israel heard him preach.
  • John had a ministry of calling people to repent, that is turn around, from their sins.
  • John the Baptist called people to action by demonstrating their repentance in the act of water baptism.
  • John had an effective ministry but he knew that his role was to prepare people for the one who would follow him, Jesus.

[Tweet “John the Baptist is an overlooked hero of the faith!”]

What do you think? Is that what you came up with? Is that what you thought the first time you read these verses?

Here’s what you need to do next. Now it is time to find a commentary or two on Mark and read what it says about this passage. This is actually Step 7 of our 8 steps. We want to know that what we have concluded isn’t way off base. This passage is fairly straightforward but it is still possible that this passage means something different from what I have suggested.  Your assignment for tomorrow is to check out what I have written. Find a commentary by an established Bible scholar you trust. If you find someone who has a very different idea of what these verses mean from what I have said, please tell me!

In our next post we are going to our final step, application. We are going to wrap this up by asking and answering the question, “What does this mean to me?” I am really excited because I know what is coming and it’s great stuff!

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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Ward Cushman

My journey of faith started when I was nine years old when I realized that Jesus died and rose again to pay for my sins. At the age of thirteen I felt the call of God on my life for ministry.

I have been fortunate to work in the marketplace for over ten years and in full-time Christian ministry for over thirty years.

My passion is to teach God's Word in such a way that it is easy to understand and so that God uses it to bring about life change in those who hear it.

It is my greatest joy to see God work through me to produce fruit for His glory!