The Messiah and His Messenger

Introduction

Mark is the shortest of the four gospels and contains fewer of the sayings of Jesus than the other three. Mark presents Jesus as the Faithful Servant of God and therefore points our attention to His work. In Mark we clearly see the wonder-working power of Jesus Christ, thus leaving us in no doubt that He is the Son of God.

The Messiah is announced

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).

Right from the start Mark announces that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. To the Romans this meant that He is all-powerful, but for the Jews it revealed that He is equal with God, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). Without the divinity of Christ our faith is valueless and vain. If He is not God then we are wasting our time serving Him, and the following Scriptures are lies, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) … “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 9:5) … “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

The moment any church turns away from this important truth it becomes a cult. The deity of our Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation on which the Church is built, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God … and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16, 18). “Jesus” speaks of His human nature while “Christ” declares His deity. The Messiahship of the Lord cannot be divorced from His divinity.

The Messiah and His Messenger foretold

“As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Mark 1:2).

The Lord Jesus Christ did not suddenly appear on the scene, instead there were thousands of years of preparation for His coming. The first announcement of the coming Messiah was heard by the first sinners, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). Throughout the Old Testament we find numerous prophesies that speak of the Messiah, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

Christ’s forerunner is also spoken of in Old Testament Scripture, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:1) … “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).

John’s mission

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:3-6)

John’s mission was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah by preaching the message of repentance. His preaching excited the Jews for they had never heard anyone speak like him since the days of the prophets. After 400 years of spiritual darkness John, with the anointing of God upon him, speaks of wonderful things. He is as a light shining in a dark place, “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” (John 5:35). He was a very popular preacher who spoke of the need of repentance and faith toward God. Nothing but the anointing of God attracted people to him, for it was certainly not his wealth!

Though the whole population went out to hear him preach only a few actually went on to follow Christ. We should not get excited about great crowds flocking to hear a famous minister. As in John’s day, very few truly repent of their sins and commit their lives to Christ.

John’s message

“And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:7-8).

He could have easily  said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” He prepared hearts for Christ rather than attempting to promote himself. He pointed them towards a greater Messenger and a more powerful baptism.

This has to be the message of all true ministers of the gospel of Christ today. If we do not declare that salvation is in no other than Jesus Christ then we have no message at all, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Conclusion

Have we truly met the Christ that John the Baptist spoke of? Many preachers exalt themselves and their ministries rather than the Lord. John was a torch, but he only prepared the way for “the sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2). We must beware of hiding “the Light of the world” behind the “bushel” of the flesh (John 8:12, Mark 4:21).

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