Matthew presented Jesus as “the son of David, the son of Abraham,” particularly to the Jews. Luke presented details of the life of Jesus in Greco style to present Him to the Greek mindset as the long-awaited Messiah of all mankind. John presented the signs and wonders of Jesus, and said that “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:30-31), but not just any god, but our God of love and tender compassion towards fallen humanity.
Mark’s gospel is unique. Mark writes less of the words of Jesus than any other of the gospels, but moves rapidly from scene to scene in the life and ministry of Jesus focusing upon His works, especially His miracles, presenting the Divinity of Christ. John Mark began his account with the forerunner who would prepare the way for the revealing, work and first advent of the Divine Son of God.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”
Quoting directly from the prophet Isaiah, Mark interprets this passage as applying to John the Baptist. Mark then presents the work of one who was more than a prophet, of him whom Jesus named as greatest born among women, and the one coming in the spirit and power of Elijah (Matthew 11:9-15):
“John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem . . .”
Mark presents this great forerunner of Christ in garments and lifestyle unlike the world, and unlike the leaders in Israel:
“And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts [carob, also known as St. John’s bread] and wild honey.”
John acknowledged that his work was only to prepare the way for One greater than himself. He declared, “There cometh One mightier than I after me, the latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”
What lessons are there for us, those who are to prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming? John’s voice was one in the wilderness of obscurity. We will not find the Lord’s messenger in mainstream Christianity, the popular ministry, but rather in those who are as John was–separate from the world in character, in dress, and in all of the lifestyle. The Lord’s messengers will not be found giving soft messages to a world darkened by sin, but rather crying for repentance. The Lord’s messengers will be zealous to cast out every stone blocking the way of the Lord’s coming in Israel. The Lord’s messengers will not be given to appetite and display, but rather will be examples of temperance and the humility of the meek and lowly Jesus. Many are there who have gone in the watery grave of baptism, but who have never been converted–they have failed of the baptism of the Spirit of Christ. To such the same message comes, as did from the lips of the Baptist, crying for the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
May you make His paths straight,