The Second Sunday in Advent

The People Change Their Ways, and John Baptizes Them

Mark 1: 1 - 8

The Gospel of Mark explodes on the scene with the arrival of John the Baptist.

Mark, which we believe is the first gospel to have been written, points us immediately forward to all the writing in the New Testament.

The word gospel means good news, and the good news is the first thing Mark tells us about.

Second, he quotes from the book of Isaiah, in the Old Testament, so we know that we are grounded in the belief in the one God. (The actual quotes are from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.)

And third, he tells us that our behavior will be repentance: that the Good News about Jesus will turn our lives around.

To repent is to do more than to be sorry for your sins: it means a bold turning away or turning around: firmly setting yourself in a direction that leads away from doing, saying, and believing bad things.

John baptized and preached by the River Jordan in Palestine, showing people the harm of their ways, telling them that Jesus would follow him to save the people from their sins.

This year, we read the story of John the Baptist in two versions. Today, we read Mark's story in this year of Mark. Next Sunday, we will read the story written by John the Evangelist.

1. Who does Mark say he is writing about in verse 1?

[Mark writes, "This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God."]

2. Which prophet does Mark quote?

[Mark quotes the prophet Isaiah.]

3. What did John the Baptist wear?

[He wore clothes made of camel's hair with a leather strap around his waist.]

4. What did John the Baptist eat?

[He ate locusts (somewhat like grasshoppers) and wild honey.]

5.What does John say about his relationship to Jesus?

[John says, 'I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals."]

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