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The Preparation of John

Mark 1.1-8
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
When I was younger I used to help my father in construction, and a vital, important step in the process of construction is preparing the ground for where a house will eventually sit. This process is a necessary means to the operation of construction, for without it no house can be built. As we begin our journey through the book of Mark, we are already introduced to a character named John.

John is a forerunner for Christ, meaning John is preparing a way for the Son of God to come onto the scene. John is an important piece to the gospel message going forward. Mark tells us that “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1.4).

Mark, being a student of the Word, allows scripture to interpret scripture by quoting from the book of Isaiah 40.3. For truly this prophecy from the prophet Isaiah was to be fulfilled. God was doing a new thing on the earth, and this time God Himself would be physically involved. Truly this is the greatest news ever to be told; that is the glorious news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The term “gospel,” or “evangel,” itself was not a new word coined by first-century Christians. Actually, the concept was significant both in pagan and Jewish cultures alike. The gospel is the good news that John the forerunner was telling everyone before Jesus Christ came onto the scene, and just like it was good news before Christ came, it is still good news today. Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us who believe so that we can have new and eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the best news that you and I will ever hear and experience.

May you and I hold on to this good news even in the unstable and uncertain times that we face today. Let these first 8 verses of Mark be a reminder to us all that God has not forgotten us, but in fact His desire was to come to the earth, dwell with man, and eventually die for the sins of the world so that we could have new and eternal life in Him. I pray today that you will be comforted by these words.

In Christ’s Service,
Cody Ragland
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