What does Mark 1:2 mean?
ESV: As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way,
NIV: as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way' --
NASB: just as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: 'BEHOLD, I AM SENDING MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY;
CSB: As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;he will prepare your way.
NLT: just as the prophet Isaiah had written: 'Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way.
KJV: As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Verse Commentary:
Although Mark was writing to Gentiles with little to no experience or interest in Judaism (Acts 15:22–29), he starts with John the Baptist who is considered the last of the Old Testament prophets. Many Gentiles had only heard of John's baptism of repentance and not the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1–6). So Mark begins his Gospel by quoting Old Testament passages which anticipated John's ministry. The phrase "before your face," used in the ESV, simply means John preceded Jesus; the NASB translates this as "I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU."

John the Baptist's ministry prepares the way for Jesus' message in two ways. First, he reminds people of their sins. Second, he transitions their thinking from national salvation towards an individual salvation. The Old Testament prophets often spoke of the sins of the nation as a whole, and even godly prophets took on the guilt of the people they admonished (Isaiah 6:5). John speaks to individuals, encouraging them to acknowledge their personal sins and ask God for forgiveness.

The exact words quoted in Mark 1:2 are taken from Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1, not Isaiah. Some later Latin manuscripts state "in the prophets" instead of "Isaiah the prophet." These manuscripts, however, are late and appear motivated to remove the concern in this passage of Mark referring to Isaiah when he clearly includes multiple prophets in his quotation. The words cited in Mark 1:3 are taken verbatim from Isaiah, and are the subject of the reference beginning this verse.

God rarely springs significant spiritual truths on us without any preparation. The Old Testament describes centuries of God warning His people not to sin, and dozens of prophecies calling the Israelites to look for the Messiah's coming. Similarly, He will often send messengers to us, preparing our hearts for His truth. Our responsibility is to listen and take God's warning.
Verse Context:
Mark 1:1–13 rapidly introduces the ministry of Jesus, as introduced by John the Baptist. While other Gospels include many details, the Gospel of Mark briefly sets the stage for Jesus' baptism by John. In a few short verses, we are told that John preached a message of repentance, that Jesus came to be baptized, and that Jesus spent forty days being tempted in the wilderness. The narrative quickly moves on to describe Jesus' miraculous healings.
Chapter Summary:
John the Baptist is introduced as a figure preparing the world for the arrival of the Messiah. John's baptism teaches people about their need for repentance. When Jesus arrives, and is baptized, it signals the coming of God's fulfillment and the need of people to recognize their Savior. Mark briefly notes Jesus' baptism, desert temptation, and the calling of the first four disciples. After this, Jesus begins teaching in the synagogue and performs miraculous healings which spread His fame around the region.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of the Gospel of Mark sets the tone for the rest of the story. Mark's writing is concise, action-packed, and short on details. Within a few verses, Mark establishes the transition from the wilderness ministry of John the Baptist to the healing and preaching of Jesus Christ. This first chapter includes the calling of Jesus' earliest disciples, His early miracles, and His early teaching. This establishes the pattern shown throughout the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus mingles His teaching with miraculous signs.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:45:36 AM
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