Sunday 11 January 2015

Bible Book:

“I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (v. 8)

Mark 1:4-11 Sunday 11 January 2015

Psalm: Psalm 29


Within a few opening sentences, Mark's Gospel has laid itsaccount of the "good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark1:1) on two solid foundation stones, with which readers wouldbe very familiar and which would give them confidence about whatwas to follow. The first was from the prophets Malachi (Malachi 3:1) and Isaiah (Isaiah40:3), "See I'm sending my messenger ahead of you, who willprepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:"Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (vv. 2-3),and the second was John the Baptist.

John was a well known charismatic figure. No one else in theGospel accounts merits a description of what they were wearing orwhat they ate (verse 6). Yet despite his odd appearance andpeculiar culinary preferences he attracted large numbers of peoplefrom the "whole Judean countryside", as well as "all the people ofJerusalem" (v. 5). He was an anti-establishment figure and perhapsbecause of this, as has often been seen in the centuries since,people were willing to listen to him.

John proclaimed a tough message and those who responded couldnot do so quietly and out of sight of others. They were publiclyacknowledging their failings and then subjecting themselves toBaptism in full view of everyone (verse 5), but at the same timethey were offered a new start - forgiveness of sins (verse 4).

However, despite his fame and influence, John was aware of hisown limitations. He knew that he was only the forerunner, and thatthe man who would build on the foundation that he had laid wouldtake his ministry to quite another level. Mark underlines this bythe affirmation from heaven following Jesus' own Baptism, "You aremy Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased" (v. 11).

To Ponder

  • Was it necessary for Jesus to be baptized? Why?
  • How much importance do we place on confessing our sins andseeking forgiveness and should this be done in private or in thefull glare of others?
  • Give thanks for those people who have had a significantinfluence on your own life.
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