Mark 1:1-8 - Prepare the Way
name was John. People knew him locally as the Baptist. Some would say of him
that he was a religious eccentric. Others less kind would dismiss him as being
simply a flake. He definitely did not seem to be the kind of ďHow to win
friends and influence peopleĒ type of personality to usher in the news of the
Messiahís coming. He just somehow doesnít seem to fit in with shepherds and
wise men and the other characters that we traditionally associate with the
Christmas story. Yet, this was Godís unlikely servant chosen to herald the
spectacular events that would soon follow. A most unlikely promotions man to be
sure, but Godís man nevertheless.
From the very beginning everything about John was unique. His mother Elizabeth was related to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
And then there was John himself. Being the same age as Jesus they grow up together, played together, yet as they reached adulthood they were different in so many ways. When John began his ministry he lived in the desert solitude of
Nor was John a respecter of persons or rank. He had an intimidating personality. For that reason the upper class folk rejected both he and his message. You can read about that in Luke 7:29.
Yet, John gathered a respectable following. He attracted many hearers among the lower class, many of whom received baptism by his hands. John even drew a group of disciples around him, which is significant for two reasons. First, some of these disciples later became disciples of our Lord. Secondly, a number of people began to think of John himself as being the long expected Messiah. For that reason Johnís gospel felt obliged to specifically point out ďThere was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came for testimony to bear witness to the light that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to bear witness to the light.
What drew people to John and his message? Well, John was far-fetched. His austere life style was a compelling reason to listen to him and perhaps his strange ways convinced some people to follow him. I think many thought he was Elijah the prophet who returned. But there was more to John than simply a bizarre strange life. John understood that God was about to do something that would shake the foundations of the earth and he needed to prepare the way for that event. He did this in basically three ways...
1. John lived a godly life.
2. John challenged the peopleís sins.
3. John pointed the way to Christ.
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