Mark's gospel begins with a surpising man, a man at home in the wilderness who spoke about an even greater witness to come after him.
And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”Luke and Matthew tell us more about John than Mark. Luke details his geneology Luke 1:5-25, his mother's joy Luke 1:39-45, and his father's doubts and faith Luke 1:57-80. Matthew and Luke both tell even more of his preaching and the particulars of John's call to repentence ring out in Matthew 3:1-12 and Luke 3:1-19. Luke provided key details about John's inquiries about Jesus in Luke 7:18-35 and Matthew included details about John's death Matthew 14:1-22.
The Holy Bible : New International Version, (electronic ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Mk 1:7-8.
Mark instead focusses on one key aspect of John's ministry--Making way for Jesus.
Mark is making a point. There's an essential message here for all believers not just preachers and church leaders. John may have been great but an even greater on is coming. I've often focussed in my preaching on repentence as John's great point, but in Mark's economy of words we hear the other point of John's preaching: someone even greater than him is coming. Mark 1:8.
As Christmas comes this year let Mark be our guide. Strip away all the floss and the glitz and focus onthe Word who comes in flesh. I walk with my daughters on the way to school past a manger scene each day. And looking at the scene I was reminded that only one person in that stable could save anyone. As John says someone great is going to come.
Thanks be to God Jesus did come. AMEN