Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lectionary Gospel Reading Dec. 4, 2005, Quick Review

                 Lectionary Gospel Reading December 4, 2005, Quick Review

Text:  Mark l:l-8

Key Verse:  Mark l:4  “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness (desert) preaching a baptism (obligating) repentance—that is to change one’s mind for the better and heartily to amend one’s ways with abhorrence of his past sins—in order to obtain forgiveness of and release from sins.”  Amplified Bible (AB).

Key Word:  Repentance

Key Thought:  The Lord’s kingdom of purity begins in the heart of man.  A man must repent, be cleansed and forgiven to open the way for the Lord Jesus to come in and take up residence in his life.   True repentance is indicated by a changed life.

Outline of Ideas Presented in the Text:

Peter’s Good News of Christ’s life, death to pay the penalty for man’s sin and resurrection was written by Mark  This Gospel is founded on the divinity of Christ—God’s divine eternal Son.

In those days when important officials planned to come to a town, they sent heralds to announce their coming so that preparations for their arrival could be made. An ancient prophetic metaphor that anticipated John’s heraldic ministry was given by the prophet Isaiah. (See O.T. Lesson  Isaiah 40:3).  To prepare for Christ’s coming, true heart repentance, indicated by a change of a person’s ways, must take place. The prideful (self exalted) must humble himself.  The lowly outcast must be encouraged to hope for the power to change.  This change comes about in the individual as Christ and the Holy Spirit  come and reside.

John stirred the whole country and capital city with powerful and dramatic messages and actions.  He raised the people’s expectation of Christ’s soon coming ministry (within 6 months).  Since he preached out in the wilderness in the humble garb of prophets of old, he was very distinct from and independent of the well-dressed leaders in town.   His preaching location was at one of the main cross roads that led to the principal gateway to Jerusalem.   A river flowed nearby where he could baptize those who were convicted and confessed their sins.

John was humbly careful to center his message on Christ, the coming one, and away from himself.  He showed how unworthy he felt in comparison to the preeminent Christ.

His baptism of repentance for Jews was an innovation but preparatory for the complete baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus would later bring about.


Jesus comes to me in love and offers forgiveness for my sin. Have I prepared the way for Him to take up residence in my heart?   Have I acknowledged my sins and confessed them to Him?  Have I received His cleansing and forgiveness and the Gift of His Holy Spirit that baptism signifies?

Joe Sturz


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