"Meanderings in Mark
Series on Mark, Lesson 1

Preparing God's People

Read: Mark 1:1-8

Text: Mark 1:1 (KJV) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Theme: Receipt of the good news and repentance of sin are necessary before receiving Christ.


It has been said that Mark is the most important book ever written, for several reasons:

The gospel of Mark is called the "servant gospel."

In the first 8 verses of Mark's gospel, he presents the "beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, the son of God."

  • QUESTION - What two events are mentioned in the first 8 verses of Mark?
    ANSWER - Mark presents the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ by describing:

  • I. The Announcement

  • QUESTION - In these 8 verses, who announced the good news?

    ANSWER - John Mark, Prophets, God, Holy Spirit, John the Baptist

    A. John Mark announced him (vs. 1)

    B. Prophets had announced Him. (vss. 2-3)

  • Gen 49:10 (KJV) The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

    Num 24:17 (KJV) I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

    Deu 18:15 (KJV) The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

    Isa 7:14 (KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

    Isa 9:7 (KJV) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    Micah 5:2 (KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

  • C. God the Father announced Him. (vs. 11)

  • Mat 3:17 (KJV) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
  • D. God the Holy Spirit announced Him. (vs. 10)

  • Mat 3:16 (KJV) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
  • E. John the Baptist announced Him. (vss. 4, 7-8)

  • 1. For 400 years there had been no prophet.

    2. Now one came with the greatest announced EVER.

  • ILLUS. Kings were always announced by a herald running ahead and shouting the news of the arrival.

    ILLUS. Important events are announced, even today.

    QUESTION - What are some modern announcements that are heralded (announced)?

    The most important event in history was about to take place.

    The most important man to ever walk the earth was coming!

  • QUESTION - So we see that the coming of the King was announced. Why is this practical to us today? How do we apply this thought to our lives today?

    F. Preparing God's people today requires announcement.

  • 1. We have the joy of doing what John the Baptist and John Mark did!
  • Acts 1:8 (KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
  • QUESTION - Can people be saved today without such an announcement?

    2. ONLY when the announcement is made will God's people be saved.

  • Rom 10:14 (KJV) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    Rom 10:17 (KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  • II. The Baptism

  • A. John prepared His way.
  • ILLUS. Kings were not only announced. The road was also prepared before them and the way made smooth.

    QUESTION - How did John prepare the way (i.e. make the road smooth) before Jesus Christ?

    1. John prepared the way by talking about Christ and Christ alone. (vss. 7-8)

    2. John prepared the way by creating and air of expectancy in the people.

  • (i.e. He stirred their hearts.)

    Luke 3:15 (KJV) And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

  • 3. John prepared the way by teaching the need for repentance.

  • QUESTION - Why would teaching Jews about repentance be considered extraordinary... revolutionary?

    ANSWER - Jews didn't believe they were sinners. John taught that they were, and that personal responsibility and sin before God needed to be recognized and confessed.

  • 4. John prepared the way by baptizing.

  • QUESTION - What was the purpose of John's baptism?

    QUESTION - How relationship did John's baptism have to salvation?

    John's baptism was NOT about salvation.

    Baptism is NEVER necessary for salvation (remember the thief on the cross)

    John's baptism was NOT the same as believer's baptism. (cf. Acts 19:4-5 where John's disciples were rebaptized after they were saved.

    John's baptism was an outward demonstration of an inward realization of need.

    ILLUS. This is why he wouldn't baptize the Pharisees, who showed no outward indication of repentance.

  • QUESTION - So we see John's preparation of the way... his baptism. Why is this practical to us today? How do we apply this thought to our lives today?

    B. This same preparation is vital today.

  • QUESTION - John stirred the hearts of the people... he made them thirsty to know what was coming. Can people be saved today without this preparation? How do people become thirsty today? How do we create such an air of expectancy in the hearts of people today?

    1. Nobody comes to Christ without thirsting for Him first.

  • QUESTION - Does your life make people thirst for the Lord?

    QUESTION - John taught the importance of repentance. Can people be saved today without repentance?

  • 2. Nobody comes to Christ without kneeling before Him.

  • QUOTE - "You can't get a man (or a woman) saved until you get them lost."

    - The one who can't see his own sinfulness can't be saved. (RECOGNITION)

    ILLUS. The Pharisee and the publican

    - The one who won't turn from that sinfulness (in heart and mind) can't be saved. (REPENTANCE)

    ILLUS. The Pharisees - unpardonable sin.

    - The one who won't confess His need can't be saved. (CONFESSION - vs. 5 speaks of PUBLIC confession)

    QUESTION - Is public confession necessary for salvation?

    QUESTION - Will public confession always follow salvation?

    Rom 10:9-10 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    QUESTION - What do you think of this quote: "Many will be in hell who were too proud to walk an aisle?"

  • Conclusion:

    Two thousand years ago John Mark sat down and wrote "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." I wonder if he knew just how true that was.

    The announcement and preparation that John the Baptist performed were, indeed, just the beginning of the most glorious story that has ever been told.

    Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come!

    Please direct QUESTIONs, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
    Copyright 1997 William E. Johnson.