Mark 1:2 Commentary - Mr. D's Notes on Selected New Testament Books by Stanley Derickson2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
The term translated "written" is the term we gain our term "graphic" from. It is the written character. The tense used here is the perfect indicative which would indicate sometime past the writing took place and that the writing will continue into the future to a point of culmination. The indicative is a statement of fact - it is a sure thing.
The term "prophets" would refer back to the Old Testament prophets since the New Testament Prophets prophesied due to gifts of the Spirit which had not been given at the time of the beginning of the Lord's ministry, nor do we have any indication that any of those prophets wrote down any of their proclamations.
"Behold" is a verb in the imperative - do it - behold it - this is important. Pay attention to this information. Some preachers need to use this term before they start their message, maybe thepeople would pay more attention to his thoughts.
"Messenger" is the word "angleos" which is normally translated angel. It is the same term translated angel in Rev 3:1 where John mentions the angel of the church at Sardis. Since verse six of Mark one identifies this messenger to be John the Baptist, we know it is not in this context referring to an angel. We might further remember that John was born of a woman, again proving that he was not an angel.
We see two terms translated "before" in this verse. The first is the Greek word "pro" or before but the second word is another Greek word that has the thought of before one in your presence or one going before that you can observe. This certainly pictures the Baptist and the Lord. They knew well what each other were doing, and John was preparing the way for Christ. (They were related by blood, in that Mary and Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother were cousins according to Luk 1:36 "And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.".) Whether they knew each other as relatives or even fellow ministers is not clear. We will see in this section that John states he did not know the Lord - by sight at least.
Just how did he prepare the way might be a great subject to delve into. We will not try to do that now, but suffice it to say now that whatever the Lord Jesus came to do, John was to smooth the way for that work - he was to assist by making the way easier.
Galatians declares the same truth in another manner. 4.4 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." In "the fulness of the time was come" we find that the Lord came at just the right moment in history, at the precise time that God decreed it. Many historians have said that there would not have been a better time for Christ to come.
Politics was right for free travel, there was a common language across the land, the roads that the Romans built were the best in the world and allowed the Gospel to spread adequately. Everything in history was set - some might say the stage was set by God to accept His Son into history. In Mark we see that there was one there to precede the Son of God in ministry to make the way straight. Mat 3:3 also mentions this fact as well as naming the prophet in question.
"For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." As you study one gospel you will need to look at the other three gospels as well for they shed light upon one another.
The prophecy is found in Isa 40:3 "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. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]." It is also recorded in Mal 3:1.
Life Application Bible makes a good point as to why Mark mentions the forerunner John. "Whydoes the Gospel of Mark begin with the story of John the Baptist and not mention the story of Jesus' birth? Important Roman officials of this day were always preceded by an announcer or herald. When the herald arrived in town, the people knew that someone of prominence would soon arrive. Because Mark's audience was primarily Roman Christians, he began his book with John the Baptist, whose mission it was to announce the coming of Jesus, the most important man who ever lived. Roman Christians would have been less interested in Jesus' birth than in this messenger who prepared the way."
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Mr. D's Notes on Selected New Testament Books by Stanley Derickson
Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. Copyright 2006
Used by Permission.