The psalmist sings that the LORD makes it possible to enjoy restful sleep — like a full-stomached nap one takes after a delicious meal. Moreover, the psalmist declares that the LORD gently guides to waters of complete rest — again using vocabulary that recalls the Exodus.
The psalmist confidently declares, “The LORD is my shepherd”. Acknowledging the LORD as one’s shepherd implies a sheep-shepherd relationship — where the Shepherd is the One with the authority. As the Divine Shepherd of His sheep, the LORD provides protection and provision, sustenance and security. Because of the LORD, the psalmist does not lack (anything). While using language that recalls the Exodus, the psalmist expresses His great trust in the LORD.
Though scholars debate the length of the prologue, Mk 1:1-8 is largely about John the Baptist while Mk 1:9-15 is largely about Jesus. The transition from John the Baptist to Jesus the Christ (i.e., the Messiah) indicates the transition from the old era to the dawning of a new age in redemptive history.
John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Stronger One — one of whom he was not even worthy of being a slave. John’s repentance-baptism paved the way and prepared people for the greater baptism of Jesus Christ — who would metaphorically immerse believers with the Holy Spirit, whom Christ would send (cf. Jn 15:26, 16:7, 12-15 cf. Jn 14:26).
John the Baptist has a popular ministry of repentance-baptism in the wilderness at the Jordan River, a location with a rich Old Testament history. The people of Jerusalem were coming out in droves, confessing their sin.
Moreover, John is dressed like a prophet — likely the prophet Elijah, who was prophesied to come before the coming of the LORD Himself (as John comes before the Lord Jesus).
John the Baptizer appears in the wilderness as the prophesied messenger of the LORD who would prepare His way (cf. Mk 1:2-3) — a way for a new exodus, a new divine encounter, a new deliverance via the LORD the King.
This preparation for the way of the Lord Jesus entails the proclamation of a preparatory baptism for those who had turned away from sin and turned to God (i.e., repentance) for the purpose of the forgiveness of sins (by God). This forgiveness will ultimately be made possible through the work of Christ on the cross.
Though Mark does not quote the Old Testament as much as the other gospel writers, he begins with a combination (testimonium) of three Old Testament quotations which foretell of a messenger sent by the LORD — who will prepare the way of the LORD. This person will be calling out in the wilderness in order to roll out the red carpet for God Himself — who will save and reign over His people as King.
As one reads Mark, one comes across many people who struggle with the identity of Jesus — the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God. Yet, from the first line, readers know exactly who Jesus is…
Get an overview of the Gospel of Mark in two animated videos that summarize the narrative, themes, structure, and more. Understanding how Mark has arranged the narrative can help us probe the richness of the divinely-inspired words…
What do lions do when they take over a pride? They often kill the cubs of the former lion king. Similarly, in the ancient Near East, new kings would often kill off any potential rivals from the former king’s family. Going against cultural norms, however, King David demonstrates his lovingkindness by having King Saul’s grandson eat at his table like a son…