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Reading Mark 1 – The King

3 April 2020 | by Emyr James | Mark 1

1 – The King

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Difficult Words

  • Gospel: Good News
  • Prophet: A person who comes with a message from God
  • Baptism: A ceremony where someone is immersed under water
  • Repentance: To realise that you have done wrong things and to turn away from your old way of life.
  • Sins: Things that we do which are against God’s law
  • Locust:  A type of insect, like a grasshopper

Question 1:

What kind of things come to your mind when you hear the word ‘King’?

Question 2:

Look at the way John is described. What kind of person do you think he was?

When important people visit a town, you don’t expect them to turn up without any warning. Imagine if your hero came to your house without letting you know before hand – you wouldn’t be ready for him.

This is especially true when speaking of kings or queens. You expect someone to go in front of them, perhaps playing instruments or shouting – so that everybody knows they are about to arrive and are ready to welcome them.

This is exactly the way that Mark begins his book of good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is coming into the world.  The Israelites, the people of God, had been waiting for a long time for a person that God would send to save them. Now, at last, he had arrived. Like any king, Jesus sends someone before Him to prepare the way. That is what John the Baptist is doing. He is calling people to realise that they were living in a way which is against God and to say sorry for this. Then he baptises them as a sign that they have been washed clean inside, that God has forgiven their sins.

But John doesn’t look like a usual messenger, does he?  There is something about him, even his clothes and his food, which show he has given everything up in order to serve God. And in case people misunderstand who he is, he says clearly that he is preparing the way for someone a lot more special than himself, someone who would be able to work in the hearts of people through the Holy Spirit and change their lives completely.

Question 3:

Thinking of the kind of man John was, what do you think it tells him about the king who is about to come?

Question 4:

If you were to hear that your hero was coming to see you, how would this make you feel? What should our response be to the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God , is on his way?


that God will show you that you need to say sorry for your sin, and ask for help to try to follow the King