Mark 1:1-13 Baptism of Repentance

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Book of Mark: 1:1 — 1:13

A Baptism of Repentance

1:1 the Son of God

Mark’s intent for writing this gospel is to present Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.

1:2 My messenger

The first order of business in proving that Jesus is the Son of God is fulfillment of prophecy regarding Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 — that just before the Messiah would come, a messenger would prepare the way. Also, that messenger would be a voice crying in the wilderness.

Mark 1:4 baptism of repentance

That is: a baptism which accords (is attributed to) repentance. Why were they being baptised? because they had repented of sins in order to be forgiven those sins. This baptism was revolutionary. Before John, the priestly sacrificial system was God’s mandate. But, we learn from Matthew 3 that John preached against those in charge of worship/sacrifice in that day. The leaders were themselves corrupt, and they corrupted the worship at the temple. John had a very harsh message for those leaders.

John’s message to those Pharisees and Sadducees, who came to watch John, was essentially (Matt. 3:7-11):

  1. Why are you here? Did someone give you a warning message of God’s wrath? Or are you a bunch of snakes in waiting?
  2. If you are here genuinely, then show the fruits of repentance
    1. (implied) Get baptised.
    2. And quit thinking to yourselves that being in Abraham’s lineage is enough. Lineage is nothing.
  3. Your old way (system of worship) has been cut down and burned up (nothing left).
  4. What I do is baptise people in the name of the coming Messiah, because they have repented of their sins as a result of believing He is coming.
  5. Only the Messiah can judge fairly, purely and with swift power.

Just as performing the sacrifices of the priestly system (in uncorrupted OT times) showed one’s faith that his sins would be atoned through the coming Messiah, even so receiving the baptism of repentance by John would have been to state that one believes he needs forgiveness of sins, and that forgiveness is in the Messiah alone.

1:5 confessing: “as they were confessing their sins”

1:6 John was

As often was with the prophets, the man’s life and demeanor was an outward symbol of his message. His message was humility. He wore humble clothes and ate humble food. He did not care for money, in contrast with the religious leaders of his day.

1:7 preaching

John’s message was that the coming Messiah has all authority. John points the way to Jesus, the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God.

1:8 the Holy Spirit

See Acts 1:8; and Acts chapter 2

1:9 was baptized by John

This shows that Jesus agreed with John’s baptism attributed to repentance. Did Jesus need to repent? Certainly not. But, if he would identify with humanity as their Savior, then just as every human needs to repent, even so, Jesus repented for you. He “fulfilled all righteousness” in your place (Matthew 3:15).

1:11-12 “You are My … Immediately the Spirit


1:12 the wilderness

The same wilderness from which John had come


John preached against those who thought that their good family name or lineage (or family religion) could gain them favor with God. Would you agree with John’s preaching that those things amount to nothing with God?

John preached against trusting in ritual-based religion for gaining acceptance with God. Have you followed John’s preaching?

A baptism attributed to repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is needed by everyone. Have you repented of sin, and have you put your trust in Jesus, the Messiah?

When one is baptized, it means he follows the One in whose name he is baptized. When John baptized people because of repentance and faith in the Messiah, everyone knew that repentance and faith in the Messiah would be a thing held onto for the rest of their life. If you have been baptized because of your repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ, are you following that pattern of consistent repentance of sinful self and continual faith in Jesus Christ?

John’s life and lifestyle matched his message of humility in opposition to the spiritual elite of his day. How can you show genuine humility in your life? How can your life match the message of grace, truth and forgiveness in Christ?

Jesus fulfilled all righteousness for you. Take Joy!

Jesus received approval from the Father. You should as well, in Jesus’ name.

Jesus followed the Holy Spirit, even out into the wilderness to be tempted. While this was Jesus’ special mission, don’t you think you should follow the Spirit too?


For Next Week: Read Mark, chapter 1 through chapter 3:12.

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