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Lesson 2
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I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Beginning of the Gospel of the Son of God (1:1)

John the Baptist (1:2-8)

Prophesied to prepare a way for the Lord (2-3)

Baptism of repentance (4-5)

John’s dress and diet (6)

Preached about one who is greater (7-8)

Baptism of Jesus (1:9-11)

Heaven opened and Holy Spirit descended like a dove (9-10)

A voice from heaven: “You are My beloved Son” (11)

Temptation of Jesus (1:12-13)

Holy Spirit sends Jesus into the desert (12)

40 days in the desert with wild animals; angels attended him (13)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Gospel, Son of God, wilderness, way, mightier, baptize, Holy Spirit, tempted

II.    General Analysis

1. God—He sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus; acknowledged Jesus as His son; the Spirit descended upon Jesus and was with Jesus; He sent angels to attend to him

2. John—He prepared the people for Jesus’ coming; he preached that Jesus was greater and baptized those who repented; he baptized Jesus

3. Jesus—He set an example of baptism; He submitted to the Holy Spirit to go to the desert to be tempted.

4. Voice crying in the wilderness; baptizing in the wilderness; locusts; wild honey; the spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness; Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness; Jesus was with wild beasts.

III. Segment Analysis

1a. See verse 4.

1b. See verse 5.

2. John’s dress and diet indicate that he lived a simple life and survived on the bare minimums (whatever was available to him). John the Baptist lived like a typical prophet, and this lifestyle was not typical of an average person.

3a. From the sequence and wording of the narrative, we see that prophecy plays a key role in bringing Jesus Christ onto the center stage.

The author introduces John by first quoting the the words of the OT prophets about the voice of the wilderness. This prophecy was fulfilled when John came. Now, John, in turn, took on the role of a prophet, and the author’s description of him in verse 6 underscores that role. John prophesied about the One coming after him, and his prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus came.

3b. Jesus’ coming was prophesied by all the prophets, including John the baptist. This demonstrates that Jesus was no ordinary historical figure. Jesus’ coming was a very significant event in history and God’s timetable. It was so important that God sent one prophet after another to announce it and finally sent John to prepare the way. Now, Jesus had finally come to fulfill the greatest divine plan, bringing redemption to mankind.

4a. To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means to receive the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 11:15-16; cf. 10:44-46). This is the promise that our Lord Jesus Christ gives to all believers—that God’s Spirit Himself will dwell in our hearts forever as a personal Helper (Jn 14:16-17; 7:37-39).

4b. John’s baptism was “of repentance for the remission of sins” (1:4). However, it ultimately served as a pointer to the One coming after John, Jesus Christ (Acts 19:4).

Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is not a foreshadow. It actually changes the lives of believers and prepares them for the heavenly inheritance. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, our Lord seals us as His heir (Rom 8:16-17; 2Cor 5:5; Eph 1:13-14; 4:30). Through the Holy Spirit Who lives in us, He teaches us (Jn 14:26; 16:13), renews us (Tit 3:5), quenches our inner thirst (Jn 4:38-39), intercedes for us (Rom 8:26-27), and empowers us (Acts 1:8; Rom 8:9-11).

5. Just as John prepared the way for Jesus, many Christian workers have prepared the way for the True Jesus Church. The true church reaps the fruit of their labor (Jn 4:37-38). Christian missionaries have gone to far-off places to preach. Bible scholars have translated the Bible into many languages. Countless hymns written in the past still move us today. All of these works prepared the world for the true gospel. The True Jesus Church is prophesied in the Bible, and is entrusted to preach the gospel to the world. She preaches the complete and perfect gospel, fulfilling the promises written in the Bible.

At the same time, the church also plays the role of John the Baptist. We are preparing the believers for Jesus’ Second Coming, when the heavenly kingdom is fulfilled.

6. “To fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15). Jesus sets an example in everything He commands us to do. (cf. Matthew Bible Study Guide, Lesson 4, Questions 10a and 10b).

7a. See verses 10-11.

7b. The parting of the heavens, the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the voice from heaven all serve as a testimony from God to all the people that Jesus was the Son of God. They also reinforced what John the Baptist had prophesied about Jesus.

Furthermore, the anointing of the Holy Spirit on Jesus was a sign that God had sent Him to the ministry (cf. Lk 4:18).

8a. Innocent (Mt 10:16); needing protection (Ps 74:19).

In the Old Testament, doves were used in a burnt offering (Lev 1:14). Also, those who couldn’t afford to buy lamb offered doves instead (Lev 12:8).

8b. The passage says, “like a dove.” John did not literally see a dove, but something like it. Often, it is difficult to describe a vision in words. This is true for biblical writings and in testimonies today. What is important is the meaning behind the vision.

A dove is a lowly creature. The Holy Spirit appears like a dove to teach us a lesson in humility. Likewise, even though Jesus had great authority, He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Php 2:7, NIV). As servants, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12:1).

The Holy Spirit also appears as a tongue of fire (Acts 2:4). John prophesied that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Mt 3:11). The Holy Spirit gave the apostles power and courage to serve the Lord (2Tim 1:7).

9. Jesus went into the desert to be tempted. His temptation is an important part of God’s salvation plan; it was necessary before He could teach and understand people’s suffering (Heb 4:15; 2:18). After we give our lives to Christ, things may not magically go well. In fact, “the Lord weighs the heart” (Prov 21:2). However, Jesus’ firsthand experience assures us that “God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1Cor 10:13, NIV).

10.             They signify danger and works of the evil one (Dan 6:4-7,16,21; 1Pet 5:8). They might also refer to continuous opposition to God’s work (1Cor 15:32; Acts 19:23-41).

11. Instead of whether or not Jesus overcame the temptation, Mark states that the angels attended him. He emphasizes that Jesus was not alone when He faced the temptations and wild beasts. No matter the temptation, God is always there to help us.

Luke 4:13 tells us, “When the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” Similarly, Mark could be portraying this temptation as the first in a series of attacks (from Pharisees [Mk 2:15-22], from His own people [Mk 3:21,31-34], etc.)

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