New American Standard Bible
Preaching of John the Baptist
Mark 1:1 “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”,
Mark begins at the beginning: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the Good News of Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One, Who, was in the beginning with God, and was God, the Son of God.
Please note that Mark does not start with a ‘warm up speech’ or an interesting lead-in or a joke. He does not give us an outline or a sociopolitical background. He omits the geography, traditions and customs of both the Jews and of Jerusalem around 65 A.D.. (That comes later.) Mark simply begins with what the reader needs to know, first: The Prophetic Truth, the historic Truth and the Eternal Truth of God, and he does that in just eleven words: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.
The Prophetic Truth emanates from Isaiah 40:2-3,
Isaiah 40:2 just as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
(1). The Purpose to be fulfilled is God’s perfecting of His people in preparation for the End of The Age through purging, cleansing, and refining. Then the destruction of the wicked, the Beast, Satan, the heavens and earth, making way for a new and perfect heaven and earth where His Chosen will live in perfection with Him forever.
(a). Isaiah 40:3-5. A voice is heard calling on unseen agencies to prepare a way for Jehovah through the desert. The idea expressed is that already the spiritual and supernatural forces are in motion which will bring about the return of the captives and a revelation of the Divine glory to all the world.
(b). Isaiah 40:6-8. A second voice calls on the prophet to proclaim the fundamental truth on which the realization of his hope depends,—the ‘perishableness’ of all human power, and the enduring stability of the word of the Lord.
(c). Isaiah 40:9-11. The prophet himself now takes up the strain; he summons a company of ideal messengers to announce to Zion and the cities of Judah the advent of Jehovah with His ransomed people.
(2). The Promise to be fulfilled that is Jehovah will return with His people to their ancient abode. This second division contains three sections:
Now, Mark turns our attention to the ‘voice heard calling out in the wilderness’,
Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”, and this prophecy is being fulfilled.
(Please note, these verses and this passage is deeply Prophetic, mysterious and is for our instruction. Prophecy can be a ‘one time event’ or it can be an ‘ongoing event’ which is not completed until the consummation of a period of time or the consummation of the age.
This is distinguished by the context and the tense of the verb used:
Present Tense is an action completed in the present.
Perfect Tense is an action completed in the past and need not be repeated.
Future Tense is an event which has not yet occurred.
Aorist Tense is an action which has no regard for the past, present or future – it is repeated until it is consummated. A continuing action or act.)
NOTE: As part of the mystery of this Word, ALL FOUR of these tenses are used in these few verses. Here is an example of each tense being used.
This is complex, but I will simply as much as possible.
(Red lettering unedited and is from the New American Standard version of the Bible; Purple lettering is an explanation of the use of each tense by way of commentary and Strong’s Bible Concordance):
Mark 1:2, “just as it is written (Perfect Tense) in Isaiah the prophet:
(I.e., (in the Perfect Tense), Mark 1:2, “just as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, and does not need to be repeated:
“BEHOLD (Aorist Tense), I AM SENDING,
(I.e., (in the Aorist Tense), BEHOLD FROM THE PAST, BEHOLD NOW, AND CONTINUE TO BEHOLD UNTIL THE AGE IS CONSUMMATED”,
(Present Tense) MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOU,
(I.e, in the Present Tense), “I HAVE SENT, AND THIS IS A COMPLETED ACTION,”
“WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY (Future Tense);
(I.e., (In the Future Tense), “WHO, IN THE FUTURE, WHEN THE TIME COMES, WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY”,
Verse 3. “THE VOICE OF ONE CALLING OUT (Present Tense) IN THE WILDERNESS,
Verse 3. (I.e, in the Present Tense),“THE VOICE OF ONE CALLING OUT an action completed in the present). (Present Tense) IN THE WILDERNESS,
‘PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD (Aorist Tense),
(I,e., the Aorist Tense),‘PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD FROM THE TIME IT WAS SPOKEN, PREPARE THE TIME TODAY, AND CONTINUE TO PREPARE THE TIME UNTIL THE AGE IS CONSUMMATED”,
MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’” (Present Tense)
(I.e., the Present Tense), MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT TODAY!’”
Mark 1:2-3, The text transliterated using the VARIOUS TENSES:
Mark 1:2, “just as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, and does not need to be repeated – it is permanent, until the Consummation of The Age:
BEHOLD FROM THE TIME IT WAS SPOKEN, BEHOLD NOW, AND CONTINUE TO BEHOLD UNTIL THE AGE IS CONSUMMATED”, “I HAVE SENT, AND THIS IS A COMPLETED ACTION, WHICH WILL BE FULFILLED IN THE FUTURE, WHEN THE RIGHT TIME COMES, WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY”, Verse 3. “THE VOICE OF ONE CALLING OUT TODAY, IN THE WILDERNESS,
PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD FROM THE TIME IT WAS SPOKEN, PREPARE THE TIME TODAY, AND CONTINUE TO PREPARE THE TIME UNTIL THE AGE IS CONSUMMATED”,
MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT TODAY!’”
This is the message. It is prophetic and very mysterious. There are actions taken at one time which either remain in the present, or are spoken in the present-past but are destined to be fulfilled at a future date, or are spoken in the present-past and will begin at that time and will continue until the consummation of the age!
WHY IS THIS RELEVANT AND IMPORTANT? This message is written to those of that age and to people of all the ages to come. This is written to you and to me. We are to follow Jesus, and Mark is telling us how, when and where we follow Him. This is not optional for a Christian. It must be done if you are truly His disciple.
INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE TEXT (WITH COMMENTARY).
Mark 1:5 ” And all the country of Judea was going out to him (THIS IS UP TO YOU and ME, TODAY), and all the people of Jerusalem (THIS IS UP TO ALL JEWS, TODAY); and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins (THIS IS WHAT WE DO, WHETHER IN THE JORDAN RIVER, OR WHERE YOU LIVE NOW). 6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and [d]his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he was [e]preaching, saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to bend down and untie the straps of His sandals. 8 I baptized you [f]with water; but He will baptize you [g]with the Holy Spirit.” (JOHN IS GIVING US INSTRUCTIONS. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL FOR A CHRISTIAN, THAT IS, A DISCIPLE OF JESUS. YOU ARE HEARING WHAT IS TO BE DONE TODAY AND WHAT WILL COME TO YOU NEXT.)
Believe it in your heart by the Spirit of God. Let it seep up into your soul – your mind, will and emotions – and live it out!
Your Brother and Friend,
(Next: Mark 1:9-12 – The Baptism of Jesus.)