Mark: According To
Part 3 Mark 1:6
“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather girdle around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.”
In our last post, we did not fully develop the thought that was being expressed in this verse. So, let’s take a moment to go back over this text. In our last post, we developed the idea that 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.
This is all true, but there are spiritual implications that bring us a clearer understanding of John and also his message. In II Kings 1:8 and Zechariah 13:4 we find information on how a true prophet of God dressed, being described as wearing camel hair and a leather belt around his waist.
The fact that John now wore the clothing of a prophet, was a silent witness to the fact that in him the prophetic office was now after so long period of nearly four hundred years restored. Now, John the Baptizer, the prophet stood before the people and prophesied, standing as a witness that the office of prophet had been restored. Both his dress and mannerisms reminded them of the prophets of old.
In the East, great value was attached to the girdle as being part of the military dress connected with the sword and bow. This was especially true if it had been worn by a sovereign or the eldest son or the heir (see I Samuel 18:4).
We see in scripture different types of girdles or belts being worn. A girdle of sackcloth was expressive of sorrow. A girdle of leather such as worn by the Prophet Elijah and John the Baptist expressed their deep humility. The girdle was also a symbol of strength and victory as we see in Psalm 18:39, 40. Rich girdles were sometimes given as rewards to soldiers. Paul referred to this custom when he said, “Have your loins girt about with truth.”
Do the leather belt or girdle worn by John signified his prophetic calling and according to Paul signified that John the Baptizer spoke the truth. And as we saw in our last post, he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Johns plain dress was a rebuke to the excess of his time. While kings and Pharisees and religious rulers all sought to wear soft clothing, signifying an easy and luxurious life style, John wore the course garments made of camel hair which was appropriate to his message of revolt against the evils in the world. This was an important symbolism because the Kingdom John Preached of was not of this world for he preached of the invisible kingdom that is born in every heart of God’s true believers. Thus, his outward appearance was a token of the message he bore.
Finally his simple diet as it was for Daniel and his three friend brought him strength, wisdom and understanding (Daniel chapter 1).
How much more effective would the gospel message be if we today developed the habits of John, by girding ourselves about with the belt of truth with the sword of God’s word at our side. How much more affective might our ministries be if we lived the life style we advocate as admirable, yet fill our tables high with rich and expensive food at the risk of our own health. How much more affective would the gospel message be if we took upon ourselves the characteristics of a servant as expressed in the life styles of John and later as Christ himself showed in his life.
Oh, that we would put away worldly desires, putting on the girdle of truth presenting the simple truth of God’s word, which tells that once again, Christ will come. As John cried out in the wilderness making straight the path of Christ coming, should we not be doing the same. Crying out to a land that is barren from the lack of God’s word. Preaching the message of repentance and Baptism not only to repentance but a Baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit. This is the message Mark chapter one verse six. That we proclaim God’s truth with simplicity and humility, because Christ is coming again.