Mark: According to
Part 2: The Town Crier
In past years, before the advent of radio, TV and the internet, each town and village would have what was known as a Town Crier. It was there job, come rain or shine, to stand in the public square and tell of the news happening within and around the community.
It was this way, that people heard about the news, and about important coming events.
Has God ever used town criers?
Verse two of Mark chapter one starts with: “As it is written in the Prophets: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.”
Isn’t it interesting all the capitalized words in the text. Let’s quickly look at them: “I, My, Your (face) Who, Your and finally You.” That is a lot of capitalization and perhaps the “Who” as in Who will prepare Your way before You should not be capitalized. This is what I thought before suddenly realizing that the word “Who” has a twofold meaning. Yes, of course we recognize from verse four that John the Baptizer is the one sent to prepare the way. However, Who, is not at the beginning of a sentence yet it is capitalized. One might think this was a Jewish or Greek sentence structure reason for the capitalization, that is until remembering, Christ called John the Baptizer the greatest prophet. And if I have learned anything about Biblical prophets, they were given visions, either by the pre-incarnate Christ or by way of the Holy Spirit. And since John began to preach and teach after Christ was born, then the capitalized “Who” would refer to the Holy Spirit working through John the Baptizer giving him the power and conviction to prophecy of the coming Messiah and to call for the people to repent.
So, John the Baptizer by the direction of the Holy Spirit is the “voice crying out in the wilderness, preparing the way of the LORD.” Exhorting the people to repent of their sins and baptizing them in the name of repentance.
Many centuries before, the children of Israel after having wandered through the wilderness for forty years came to the Jordan River and as the priest step into the water the water parted and the people marched through. This is equated to a type of baptism and now John the Baptizer lowers people into this same river, washing as it were their sins away.
“Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River confessing their sins.”
Verse six describes the simple life that John lived. He didn’t need the luxury that so many preachers claim today, he lived a simple life, devoted to God and baptizing all who would repent.
The essence of his message is repentance, but as it says he was to be the voice crying in the wilderness, beside repentance, he preached to them saying “there comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. Then he boldly predicted, “I indeed baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7, 8).
This prediction came true as the Holy Spirit baptized the disciples in the upper room and they came out preaching, teaching, and calling on the people to repent from all wrong doing, all done in the name of Jesus Christ, and then baptizing these new converts into a new life as they too were baptized with water and the Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2).
So, what is all the fuss about? Why is it that God felt he needed to send someone, to sends as it were a town crier ahead of Christ’s arrival? Come, look, and see in the posts coming over the next few weeks what all this fuss is about.