I MET JESUS: John the baptiser (Mark 1:1-13)

This 10-minute video is a fantastic introduction and overview of the book of Mark in the Bible - the one we're going through in this series - all about people who met Jesus...

John the 'baptiser'

John is often called John the 'Baptist' but this can be confusing because 'Baptist' is also a church denomination today.  They're great but John wasn't one of them because they didn't exist as a group of churches yet.  Anyway, John the 'baptiser' (because he baptised people), not only met Jesus but knew quite a bit about him before everyone else did.  This is because it was his job as a prophet to get people ready for Jesus.  

And this is where Mark begins his account of Jesus...

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way’ –
‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.”’

These words of Isaiah (another prophet) were written 700 years before John came.  It's prophecy and fulfillment.  This kind of thing happens a LOT in the Bible (especially in and around the life of Jesus), because God:

knows the future, 
reveals what he's going to do... 
and then does it!  

So everyone ought to realise it's him at work.  There are a LOT of prophectic clues to warn people ahead of time.  This was helpful for people back then but it's also incredibly useful for people today who are trying to figure out who Jesus is.  There are lots of breadcrumbs to follow!

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 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. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ 

John got people ready for Jesus by helping them realise the seriousness of their sin, so they would have sorry hearts before Jesus came along.  People with sorry hearts are ready to meet Jesus and hear about who he is and why he came.  

John was a weird looking guy by the sounds of it.  Not someone you'd expect to have tons of credibility.  So it's kind of obvious that God was at work in and through John, to lead people to repentance - sorrow for sin and a desire to turn from it and live a new live.  And they got dunked in water by John as a sign that this is what they wanted to do.  

They haven't got faith in Jesus yet, but they're sorry for their sin, so they're ready to meet him.

Are you sorry for your sin?  Do you feel the seriousness of all the things you've thought, said and done wrong?  Or perhaps there's times you know you should have acted but you didn't?  Doing nothing can be sin too.  As Faithless sang: "Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction".  What are you doing with your sin problem?  Denying it?  Ignoring it?  Minimising it?  Excusing it?  Justifying it?

It's not enough to be wrong.  You need to be wrong and sorry.  Time to own up!

By the way, God LOVES you and he LOVES it whenever someone comes to him in humility and honesty with a sorry heart for their sin.  He wants to FORGIVE YOU!  This is why Jesus came!  

And if you've never come to God with your sin and you're not sure what to say, you could borrow King David's words in Psalm 51.  I've done this many times!!

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

John sees Jesus, baptises him and then we have this epic scene where the trinity is revealed: 
  • God the Father speaks audibly from the sky and tells everyone who Jesus is!!
  • God the Son (Jesus) is in the water - centre of attention!
  • God the Holy Spirit is there too - in the form of a dove (a symbol of peace) and also highlighting Jesus to everyone present.
Do you wish you'd been there?  Then you'd know for sure about Jesus, right?  

So we weren't there.  But God has given us the next best thing: a reliable historical account written by Mark, (and others) telling us all about it.  Does the story sound far-fetched?  Perhaps.  But that's the point!  We're reading about absolutely unique moments in human history as God himself turns up as one of us!  Of course it sounds far-fetched!  That doesn't mean it's not true.  We still need to examine the evidence for ourselves.  That why we're taking the time go through it together in Bright Idea.  You're welcome!  :)

[If you want to look further into the historical reliability of the gospels about Jesus, you could have a quick dive into it here or get a copy of 'Why Believe the Bible?' by Amy Orr-Ewing.  It's scholarly AND an accessible read for those who are interested.]

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

John knew who Jesus was and he pointed him out to others, inviting them to have sorry hearts for their sin and to pay attention to Jesus.

If you're a Christian - I think you have pretty much the same task!  So, how's it going???

If you're not, how do you feel about your sin problem?  And are you willing to hear Jesus out as we go through Mark's gospel?

Either way, maybe it would be an idea to talk to God and determine what your next step should be!