1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written:
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
(verse 2 & 3 - quoting Isaiah 40:3 which prophesizes of John preaching and preparing the people for the coming Messiah.)
4 This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.
5 All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
What a strange figure John must have been, dressed in such a humble way and eating off the land as God provided for him, preaching at the top of his lungs about the people’s sins, instructing them to repent and be baptized to show their commitment to following God, in preparation for the coming Messiah. Yet… “all of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear him.”
7 John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals.
8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”
John baptized with water to take their attention from himself, directing them toward One who is far greater than him; a symbol of obedience to God. John preached that Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit, which cleanses the heart and makes all things new.
These eight verses point me, beautifully, toward Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and prepares me for the rest of the chapter.
How does Mark 1:1-8 speak to you?