November 11, 2004

Mark 1:6-8 Sermon Notes

Category: Bible - NT - Luke :: Permalink

Mark 1:6-8
(September 12, 2004 Sermon Notes)

The gospel begins with John the Baptist. That’s what we find in Acts and in the four Gospels. John is the culmination of the Old Covenant. Jesus doesn’t throw out the Old Covenant and start something new; rather, He fulfills the Old Covenant. The whole Old Covenant looks forward to Him.

John teaches Israel to expect the coming of Yahweh, Israel’s God, as He promised in the prophets. Yahweh is coming to bring a new covenant, to do something the Old Covenant couldn’t. And John is preparing His way. We see that preparation in John’s lifestyle and John’s preaching.


In the middle of his account of John’s ministry, Mark tells us about John’s clothing and his dress. These aren’t incidental details.

In Zechariah 13:4, we learn that prophets wore robes of coarse hair (and false prophets tried to make themselves look like true prophets by doing the same thing). John’s hairy garment identifies him as a prophet.

More than that, John’s hairy clothes and leather belt remind us of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8). John is the Elijah promised in Malachi 4:5, who is to prepare Israel for the coming of Yahweh.

John is a new Elijah. But Elijah himself is a new Moses. And so John, too, is a new Moses. He calls Israel to a new Exodus, but in a sense he stays in the wilderness. He wears wilderness clothing and eats wilderness food. As Moses died in the wilderness and didn’t enter the Promised Land, John is looking forward to the new covenant, but he doesn’t enter it.


John proclaims that someone stronger is following him. That’s the message of the whole Old Covenant. The Old Covenant couldn’t bring God’s people into their full inheritance, which includes having the Spirit dwell in each of them as He did in the tabernacle and temple.

But Yahweh can. The surprise is that Yahweh is coming to Israel as a man, wearing sandals (1:7). That’s who Jesus is: Israel’s God in person.

In the Old Covenant, God promised to pour His Spirit on Israel (Isa. 443; Joel 2:28; Ezekiel 36:27). John’s baptism with water was effective. It purified Israel so that unclean people could live in God’s presence (see Hebrews 9). But it couldn’t take away sin and cause people to share in the Spirit. Nothing in the Old Covenant could do that.

But Jesus baptizes with the Spirit. That’s what happened at Pentecost (Acts 2), and from Pentecost on, we share in the Spirit through repenting and being baptized with water into the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). John stayed in the wilderness. Through Jesus, we enter the Promised Land and share in everything God promised, including His Spirit.

Posted by John Barach @ 5:13 pm | Discuss (0)

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