Class Notes: 3/12/2013

Mark 1:5-8 in our verse by verse study; God provides the hearers for the person with His message

Continuing in our verse-by-verse study of Mark, last time we saw that John's message addressed both believers and unbelievers. His message to unbelievers was to change their mind about Jesus Christ and the message to believers was to acknowledge any known sins.

Mark 1:5; And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

The Greek words translated "going out" and " being baptized" in this verse are in the imperfect tense that describes continuous action. that is they "kept on traveling out to him" and they "kept on being baptized by him".

We have already seen that his location was a volitional test for the people because he was in the wilderness and he did not come to them, they had to go to him. "All of the country of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem kept on going out to him"

At the time the city of Jerusalem, and the temple are the center of religion and legalism. The crowds kept coming out because they were hungry for the truth. Their traveling out of the city into the wilderness where John was means that there is a separation from religion.

There are many ministers today who are born-again believers and who seek to teach the Bible, but their ministry is destroyed because they compromise with religion because they have not separated themselves from apostasy.

They stay in their denomination with the idea of trying to correct things from within but that isn't the way God works. God takes a man, puts him in an impossible place, gives him a message, and this tests the volition of the populace. No man can compromise with religion and be an effective communicator of God's truth.

John had passed this test and had separated himself from religion.

The principle is that when a man has a message then God will provide the hearers. No one can preach until he has the message. John was prepared and Bible Doctrine as the sole source of this message. Preachers come and preachers go but the true source, the Word of God abides forever.

The people came because they were hungry for the truth, and John has the truth, so they went into the desert because they wanted to hear the truth because they are not getting the truth in the temple of Jerusalem and they are not getting the truth in the synagogues in the surrounding areas.

From the imperfect tense we see that as long as John kept on preaching the people kept on going out to the wilderness; "to him" is the preposition "pros" plus the accusative means they came to be face to face with him. They not only went out into the desert but they went out so that they could come face to face with him and personally hear him preach.

Once they got there they responded to his message. "They kept on being baptized by him in the Jordan River confessing their sins"

Here we see the post-salvation experience of John's converts the first was ritual the second was acknowledgement of sin. The ritual is the water baptism that is a witness of salvation; confession or acknowledgement of sins is the means of recovering their relationship with God.

The word "baptize" means identification, and in the case of a water baptism we have a ritual identification where in the case of John's baptism the water actually represents the kingdom. The baptism meant that they were being identified with the eternal kingdom and Jesus as the eternal King.

Coming out of the water was a picture of the new life that is maintained by confession alone to God alone. The imperfect tense tells us that there was a constant stream of new converts who were being baptized. The Greek word translated " being baptized" is in the passive voice that means the converts received the action of the verb.

They received baptism as a testimony or their salvation. They weren't saved by baptism but they received baptism "by him" (John the baptizer) as a testimony. The Greek preposition translated "by" is "hypo" that means under the authority of.

In other words, they recognized John as a true messenger of God with the result that they submitted to the ritual because they believed his message.

At the same time, over in Herod's temple there was the continuous function of ritual, they were continuously offering the sacrifices that all pointed to Jesus Christ. The Levitical priesthood was meticulously practicing the rituals.

But the rituals had lost their meaning because religion had taken over and they were often performed in unbelief so there was no correlation of the ritual to Jesus Christ in the thinking of the unbelieving participants so it was meaningless and therefore a waste of time, resources and effort.

This means that the baptism was also a means of declaring their separation from religion. No one can be effective in the service of the Lord and at the same time be under the legalism of religion.

"In the Jordan River" indicates that this was an immersion. The word "baptize" means to immerse for the purpose of identification.

This shows us so that there is no question as to the mode of baptism when ritual baptism is practiced. "Confessing their sins," is the second post-salvation experience. This is exactly the same as 1John 1:9. Confession to God is exclusively a post-salvation experience.

The present tense of the Greek of word "exomologeo" translated confessing indicates that this was a post-salvation experience and was not in any way identified with their salvation.

The present tense indicates linear action to demonstrate to us that after we are saved we are going to sin many times, and every time we sin our only hope and basis for recovery is a change of thinking that involves our recognizing and acknowledging our sin.

Mark 1:6; John wore a garment made of camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist.... John's clothing was very rough it was made from a thick heavy cloth woven from camel's hair. It was heavy sackcloth that a very poor person would wear. It was similar to the type of clothing the Elijah wore 2Kings 1:8; that was also worn by other prophets. Zech 13:4; Net note 6

... and he ate locusts and wild honey. Locusts and wild honey were a common diet for poor people in desert regions and locusts are listed in Lev 11:22; among the clean foods that God had approved for the Israelites to eat.

We see from this that John's lifestyle was in stark contrast that of the religious leaders in Jerusalem who lived in ease and luxury. While his clothing and diet were indicative of someone who lived in the desert, they also depicted him in his role as God's prophet.

His clothes were very simple and rough in contrast the Pharisees, who wore white robes with gold trim.

We see from this that there was nothing in John's personality or dress, appearance, social background or education that demanded a hearing from the people. John was a man who was simply a channel for God's power and God's message.

John was apparently operating under the law of supreme sacrifice. It was God's will for him to be in the desert where it is much more primitive even than in the countryside; although as the son of a priest he most likely grew up in the city.

So in addition to being a Levitical priest John, was also a Nazirite. Nazirites took a vow to live under a principle of supreme sacrifice and dedicated their lives to serving God Num 6:2-21;

Mark 1:7-8; And he kept on preaching... The Greek word translated "preaching" is the imperfect active indicative of "ekervssen" that means he kept on announcing or proclaiming with the objective of persuading and warning.

saying "After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Again John states that he is simply the one announcing the arrival of One who is greater and he describes himself as being unfit to even untie that strap of His sandals.

This is a reference to the work of a slave when a guest came into a house and John is using this statement to describe how great the One he is announcing is compared to himself. At this point Jesus hasn't yet been identified as the One he is heralding.

Verse 8 identifies John's baptism as a ritual baptism. The Greek word "baptizma" is an aorist active indicative indicating that he is speaking to those whom he has already baptized.

Remember the Greek word "babtizma" is transliterated into the English and means to be identified with something. When John baptized he used water and the water represented the kingdom of God, the kingdom of believers.

These people who were already saved by faith alone in Messiah alone were taken to the water and put into the water to indicate they were identified with the King and the kingdom that John was proclaiming in his message. This was their visible testimony.

But when the King Himself comes the King is the kingdom and therefore the water will not represent the kingdom after the King comes. John himself did the baptizing because as far as we know he had no assistants.

It is interesting to note that Jesus did not perform water baptism. We will see that Jesus was baptized by John but He Himself did not baptize. So it would appear that John's ministry and baptism was absolutely unique and the Bible does not indicate that anyone else performed the act of water baptism again until after the Church Age began.

As far as we can tell, in Acts chapter two Peter and the apostles performed acts of water baptism on the day of Pentecost, the day the Church began, and again this was a ritual for identification purposes only.

The Bible does not record water baptism being performed by anyone except John and after John died no baptisms are recorded again until the apostles baptized on the day of Pentecost. This means that baptism was a special function of John the baptizer as the herald of the King.

John only baptized those who he was convinced had personally accepted the Messiah and Savior. He was only addressing himself to believers when he said: "I make it a habit of baptizing you".

This was apparently the way that God would make it possible for the herald and the King to come in contact. There has to be a basis of contact and the herald will contact the King when the King offers Himself as a candidate for baptism.

And at first the herald will refuse because he was accustomed to baptizing converts. But it will be shown to him that the water can represent identification to more than the kingdom of God because it can also represent identification with the plan of God.


Christ is not a sinner who has been saved; he is not a convert so in His case the water will represent the plan of God the Father for His work in his unglorified humanity so when Jesus goes into the water His baptism is unique and no one will ever follow Him in baptism.

God used this as a means of bringing Jesus Christ in His humanity to the point of decision before He began His ministry, as a confirmation that He would fulfill the Father's will.

The plan of the Father is the cross, the will of the Father for the humanity of Christ is the cross and when Jesus goes into the water to be baptized in effect He is saying that He will go to the cross, that He will die for the sins of the world, that He will fulfill the plan of the Father, because He did not come to do his own will but rather to do the Father's will.

All of this is involved in the baptism of Jesus but in the meantime John is baptizing his converts as a testimony and as a principle that there will be very little ritual left for the Church Age. The only ritual that was left to us is the Lord's Table and for a short while water baptism.

This however doesn't prevent religion from using a lot of ritual, all of which is totally meaningless because ritual is no longer the means that is used to approach God. John 4:23-24;

This is the message of the entire book of Hebrews. Heb 10:1; the law had a shadow of good things to come but was not the reality. In the Church Age we no longer deal with shadows we deal with reality. Heb 10:11-13;

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