THE BEGINNING OF THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS
Key Verse: 1:1
“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, …”
1. Read verse 1. What is this book about?
This book is about a new beginning. Everything is new when we receive Jesus. No matter what has happened in the past, in Jesus it is a new beginning. Mark wanted to share his gospel to help bring people to see the new beginning of life in Christ and the joy that it brings. About Good news, the gospel. The word gospel is German for good news. This book tells us who Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God is and what that means for us.
What do the two titles mentioned here tell us about Jesus? (Gen 3:15, Isa 53:5-6, Micah 5:2)
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers; he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”” “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.””
The term Messiah means he is the one promised by God to redeem his people in the Old Testament. The Messiah would make everything right for them spiritually and before God. It was the fulfillment of God’s promises. Son of God means that he is in very nature God–Not just one sent by God. His coming is the good news—that the almighty God came to save his people as he promised.
Why is it important that the gospel began with prophecy (2-3)?
This book is about Jesus’ existence to the Jewish people and God’s promise that is fulfilled.
These are the steps laid out by God so that the people may recognize the Messiah and it gives the people a chance to listen to this messenger and prepare their hearts.
What does this tell us about God?
It tells us that the Lord is merciful and prepares the way with very clear instructions. The Gospel did not appear out of thin air. It came from the Old Testament scripture – it came from thee unchanging God of the Bible who is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. His word is the eternal truth.
What is the significance of the role of the Lord’s messenger? (Mal 4)
“ “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” John the Baptist as the messenger is meant to reveal the Messiah to the people. John could have done many things but he did exactly what the Lord told him to do.
2. What did John the Baptist preach (4)?
“And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” John preached a baptism of repentance with water for forgiveness of sins. Everyone knew they had sins—so why preach publically calling for repentance? Without someone preaching the Message – nothing happens. Hearing the call to repent and the promise of forgiveness of sins is the first step to move the hearts of those seeking God.
How did the people respond to John (5)?
“ The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” In hyperboly many people (the entire country side) confessed their sins. Many people’s hearts had gone astray from the Lord so that when the call came many hearts were burdened almost eager to repent and receive forgiveness of sins.
Why do people need to repent?
Some bold people think they do not need to repent for they have not done anything wrong. But
sin is the one thing that separates us from God. People cannot come to God without repentance.
How does this prepare the way for the Lord? (2 Cor 5:17, Zechariah 3:1-4)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”” Receiving forgiveness removes old sins and wounds that hinder us before God. Once we repent of our sins we have an open heart before God instead of a closed heart. With an open heart we can receive God’s word and his will and directions for our life. To be clear of our sins we can receive his Son and understand what is pleasing to him and what we should now do with our lives.
3. How might John’s pure life and personal piety have affected the response to his message (6; Lk 1:17; 2 Ki 1:8)?
“ John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.” “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”” “They replied, “He had a garment of hair[a] and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.””
John the Baptist lived very humbly in the desert much as Elijah had lived before. His message was not distracted by other issues. There were not side issues coming in between or distracting from the message—in fact we don’t quite even know at what location in the Jordan River John baptized. His ministry was that focused on pointing others to Christ.
How did John’s message witness to Jesus (7-8)?
“7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”” John continually pointed to Jesus the Messiah because he understood the nature of the Messiah who would come. John continually said, “One will come even greater than I…” This was in regards to the Spirit. What can we learn from him? Here very clearly John was telling us that in the New Testament all people will receive the Holy Spirit as the baptism of the Messiah will be with the Holy Spirit.
Why do we need Jesus’ baptism? (John 7:37-39, Romans 8:1-4)
“37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Baptism makes us new before God. Baptism of the Spirit is needed to stand before God. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is only thing that can change the old nature to a new nature and regenerate us from sinners into Holy people. We really can be new through the work of the Holy Spirit. Everyone wishes to start over in life—through the Spirit we can.
4. How does Jesus’ baptism by John prepare him to begin his ministry (9)?
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” We know that John’s baptism was a baptism of forgiveness of sins, but Jesus did not have any sins. At first glance this seems strange. Jesus showed his servant nature and humbled himself to be baptized under a man of God’s calling.
This showed that God was validating the work of John the Baptist and that John came from God. This also showed that Jesus as a “man” set an example by fulfilling the requirements that believers undergo baptism. This shows that Jesus is in harmony with the Father. Jesus has the proper baptism and officially has the ministry passed from John to himself.
What is the significance of heaven opening and the Spirit descending on Jesus (10)?
“10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.” God alone validated Jesus before the people. God showed his approval of Jesus and that he was sent by God and chosen by God. Jesus was revealed to all those who were there. Heaven does not open for ordinary people showing that Jesus is no ordinary Messiah.
Why is it important that he was affirmed as the beloved, pleasing Son of God by a voice from heaven (11)?
“11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.””
Here we see the love relationship with God and the Son. All through Jesus’ ministry we see this relationship as the power source of his ministry. In the Christian’s life it too is the power source as well. This is an intimate exchange between Father and Son. Baptism is sign of Obedience to the Father and through his baptism God is pleased with him. The concept of the Trinity is hard to understand but the concept of a Father to Son relationship is something we can understand.