All the people from Judea and Jerusalem went out to John. These people told the sins they had done, and then they were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
— Mark 1:5
John didn't choose the most accessible location to do his ministry. Instead, he was located in the wilderness. Yet, people came from all over to hear him. Why? Because they were hungry for spiritual food. They longed to hear the voice of God through one of his servants, a true prophet. Distance was no barrier. Confession of their sins and baptism were not barriers. They were hungry for God. Are we hungry for God today? What barriers do we let keep us away from seeking God with all of our hearts?
Father, help me hunger to know you better and serve you more faithfully. Please help me destroy any barriers that I have put between your grace and my need for it. Please, dear Father, never let my pride ever keep me from hearing your call in my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
The Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begins with what the prophet Isaiah said would happen. Isaiah wrote: "Listen! I (God) will send my helper ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you." "There is a person shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.'" So John the Baptizer came and was baptizing people in the desert area. He told the people to be baptized to show they wanted to change their lives. Then their sins would be forgiven. All the people from Judea and Jerusalem went out to John. These people told the sins they had done, and then they were baptized by John in the Jordan River. John wore clothes made from camel's hair. John had a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. This is what John told the people: "There is a person coming later who is greater than I am. I am not good enough to kneel down and untie his shoes. I baptize you with water. But that person who is coming will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. " At that time Jesus came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the place where John was. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. While Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the sky open. The Holy Spirit came down to Jesus like a dove. A voice came from heaven and said: "You are my Son and I love you. I am very pleased with you."
Related Scripture Readings
Jesus went away with his followers to the lake. Many people from Galilee followed him. Many, many people also came from Judea, from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from the area across the Jordan River, and from the area around Tyre and Sidon. These people came because they heard about all the things Jesus was doing.
Jesus and his followers went again to Jerusalem. Jesus was walking in the temple area. The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the older Jewish leaders came to Jesus. They said to Jesus, "Tell us! What authority (power) do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question. You answer my question. Then I will tell you whose authority I use to do these things. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people? Answer me!" These Jewish leaders talked about Jesus' question. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then Jesus will say, 'Then why didn't you believe John?' But we can't say that John's baptism was from someone else." (These leaders were afraid of the people, because the people believed that John was a prophet. )
When John's followers left, Jesus began to tell the people about John: "What did you people go out into the desert to see? A weed blown by the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. Those people that have fine, nice clothes live in kings' houses. Really, what did you go out to see? A prophet ? Yes, and I tell you, John is more than a prophet. This was written about John: 'Listen! I (God) will send my helper ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you.' I tell you, John is greater than any man ever born. But even the least important person in the kingdom of God is greater than John."