Explore The Bible Study: Introduced

7:31 PM

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? College season is here, and along with it comes a lot of hype. As you examine this week's Explore the Bible Study: Introduced, think about all the hype that goes into anticipating an upcoming football season. Then compare this anticipation to the long awaited coming of the Messiah. Mark's gospel is going to introduce us to that long-awaited coming. Perhaps the following video will help set the context of the anticipation. Our anticipation of an upcoming football season pales in comparison to the coming of the Messiah, yet the hype was not nearly what one would expect.

While you might not care that college football is beginning again most avid college football fans have been anticipating this time of the year for months. The Gospel of Mark begins with the end of a long wait by the people of God for the coming Messiah. 

The Gospel of Mark is the second of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. It is called a gospel account because it announces the “good news.” “Gospel” comes from a Greek word “evangelion,” which literally means “good news.” In the New Testament, it refers to the announcement that Jesus has brought salvation to the world through his life, death, and resurrection from the dead.

Mark begins with the introduction of Jesus to the world through a man called John the Baptist. John the Baptist had lived in the wilderness, looked different, wasn’t of royal blood, and was baptizing and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But his most important job would be to introduce to the world, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Mark simply, yet powerfully, introduces Jesus to a primarily Gentile audience. It opens with the phrase in Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” With this simple and powerful introduction, Mark takes us down a path to help us understand more fully who Jesus is, why He is the Messiah, and what it truly means that He is the Messiah. 

Even in the introduction of Jesus, we discover that the long-awaited Messiah was going to be much different, yet much more than what the Jewish people anticipated. Through this study of The Gospel of Mark, perhaps you, too, will discover that Jesus as Messiah is much different than what you might expect, and, at the same time, much more than what you ever realized.

Perhaps it will help answer the question or confirm for you regarding why you should follow Jesus. In the first three verses we see that God always sends people to be His messengers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. In this case, it was John the Baptist.

Prepare the Way for the Messiah—Mark 1:1-3

For centuries, the Jewish people had been longing for the Messiah’s arrival. But since they were expecting a military leader who would free them from Roman rule, many missed the significance of Jesus once He burst onto the scene. Mark was led by God to begin with Jesus’ earthly and public ministry instead of His birth and early years as did other gospel accounts. 

His first sentence is a declaration, a title page for the One being introduced: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This description of Jesus was very important. It presents the entire message of the gospel that is only available through Jesus Christ. 

  • “Jesus” – from the Hebrew name “Joshua.” It means “The Lord is salvation.”
  • “Christ” – A Greek word meaning “anointed.” Jesus was anointed by God. It also corresponds to the Hebrew world “Messiah.”
  • “Son of God” – So as not to leave any doubt, Mark introduces Jesus as the “Son of God” thus proclaiming the deity of Christ and affirming that Jesus is fully God and fully man. This would a recurring theme throughout Mark’s gospel.

We are also introduced to the messenger, John the Baptist, in verse 1. In ancient cultures a forerunner would be sent ahead of a king to prepare for the king’s entrance into a town. He would make necessary arrangements and line out the path in which the king would enter. Jesus was The King. While His kingdom was “not of this world” (John 18:36), as the Son of God, He was anointed to redeem His people who were of this world.

Read Mark 1:3 again. There were two actions this messenger from the wilderness was to take.  How can these actions apply to believers today?

Believers are messengers from the wilderness as well. As believers we will or should be viewed differently from others. Our actions may seem unusual and, at times, very different than most of society. However, we are to be ones who “cry out in the wilderness” the gospel message. We are to remove all barriers so that the Messiah has a clear path to the hearts of men. 

As John prepared the way, he could have become prideful because of the results in his personal ministry. Verse 4-8 reveals this was not the case.

Move out of the way for the Messiah—Mark 1:4-8

Imagine if this were today. Because of what was taking place, would people be more attracted to the ministry of John the Baptist than to the One he was introducing? In what ways did John’s actions and lifestyle demonstrate his humility? Why do you think his humility was necessary in carrying out the mission with which he was charged?

“John was preaching something different than what the first-century Jews had been hearing. As a result, he created a great deal of excitement throughout the region. . . John’s preaching created so much excitement that it had people talking across the region. Great numbers were flocking to the countryside to hear him preach. 

This would not have been an easy trip since the Jordan River is more than twenty miles from Jerusalem, including a descent of around 4,000 feet. Those who traveled to hear him were committed to hearing what he had to say. Going out suggests that people were continually coming.” – Source, ETB Leader Commentary.

John denied any pretense of self-indulgence so that all attention would be directed toward the coming Messiah.

What if John had ignored Jesus and considered his popularity and message more important because of the crowd’s response? 

How does Acts 19:1-4 help you understand why John had to point people to Jesus? How does this help you understand that simply repenting of sin is not enough? What if John had ignored this in order to maintain His popularity?

John knew people needed to be directed to the Messiah for salvation. Yet at this point the Messiah was not present. But this was about to change. While John was preaching repentance and preparing the people for the Messiah, Jesus showed up.

Present the Messiah – Mark 1:9-13

Jesus arrived and was baptized in the Jordan by John. Jesus would have traveled around fifty miles from Nazareth to reach the Jordan River. One should also note that Jesus’ baptism was not for repentance or for salvation. Jesus needed neither. He was completely sinless. Instead, He chose to be baptized out of obedience to the will of His Father (See 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus’ baptism signified the beginning of His earthly ministry and was an example for others.

This was an epic event that revealed God’s love for His Son, and the revelation of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The introduction of Jesus was not only an affirmation but a demonstration as God’s power. 

Verse 11 gives us a declaration from God that is very much the basis for all we cherish and hold true in our faith. Most of us can relate in a small way to the love and pride God felt as He declared the words of affirmation to His Son.

Notice what took place next in verses 12-13. Notice it was the Holy Spirit that took Jesus to the wilderness. What can you learn about serving God from this passage?

Jesus had just been affirmed by the Father and His Spirit. But the Spirit had an additional task to perform. He was to “drive” Jesus into the wilderness. This is a strong word that indicates that the Spirit was insistent that Jesus go, and Jesus obeyed.

Jesus needed to come face-to-face with everything you and I would face as we seek to follow Him. 

Jesus needed to come face-to-face with everything you and I would face as we seek to follow Him. He was taken into the wilderness to be subjected to the temptations of Satan and to face the dangers of wild animals. But there is one important statement no one should forget. As Jesus was guided by the Spirit into situations where He would face temptations and danger, the angels were there “serving Him!”

How Should You Introduce the Messiah to Others?

Consider these questions as we conclude:

John was to prepare the way and clear the path for the coming Messiah. What actions should we take that prepare others to meet Jesus Christ? What actions indicate that we are clearing the path instead of cluttering the path to the Savior?

How can you remain humble when others begin to respond to you because of your faith in Christ?

How does Jesus obediently following the Spirit into the wilderness to face danger and temptation help you as you follow Jesus?

As you go about your daily routines this week, consider how you can introduce people to Jesus. Perhaps some of the characteristics of John the Baptist and the reality of who Jesus really is will change the way you introduce others to the Good News of the Gospel!

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

Download PDF Version

Download Word Version

LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Like us on Facebook

Latest From Twitter