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bible study devotion

New Year Devotion: breaking 400 years of silence

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us hungry and thirsty hearts to seek after You. Thank You for the privilege to study Your word. Thank You Holy Spirit for teaching, convicting, correcting, transforming, and training us in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you: Malachi 3:1, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!’” Isaiah 40:3. John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. He preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen. I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:1-8

Introduction

The 4 gospels gave us 4 perspectives of the life of Jesus from 4 camera angles. Matthew presented Jesus as King of the Jews for a Jewish audience, emphasizing what Jesus said. Mark presented Jesus as a Suffering Servant for a Roman audience, emphasizing what Jesus did. Luke presented Jesus as the Perfect Man for a Greek audience, emphasizing what Jesus felt. John presented Jesus as the Son of God for all people, emphasizing who Jesus was. 

The Gospel of Mark is a fast-moving narrative.  He used the three words, ‘and’, ‘now’, and ‘immediately’ as he moved from one scene to the next. Scholars believed that Mark wrote about himself in Mark 14: 51. Mark was not an eye-witness of Jesus. According to traditions, Mark relied heavily on the input of his spiritual god-father and mentor Peter, an eye-witness,1 Peter 5:13. Mark, or John Mark, was a cousin of Barnabas, Acts 12:12 and Colossians 4:10. He traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but abandoned them at Perga. Acts 13:13. Eventually Paul reconciled with Mark, 2 Timothy 4:11. 

Commentary

The Greek word for good news is ‘’evangelion’’ which means Gospel. The Gospel of Mark begins with the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark did not begin his gospel with a genealogy of Jesus. In the first-century world, a servant’s genealogy was not important. Malachi prophesied John the Baptist’s coming as a forerunner of Jesus 400 years before Christ. Isaiah prophesied John the Baptist’s coming as a forerunner of Jesus, 740 years before Christ.

John was a hairy and rough-looking man who wore a garment made with camel hair and a belt around his waist. His appearance resembled Elijah’s. John the Baptist was a Nazarite, from birth Luke 1:15. He ate locusts and wild honey. Some bible scholars believed he ate the carob pods from the carob tree and not the real locusts. The carob pod is also called the locust bean or St. John’s bread. He probably ate wild honey derived from the dates palm and not real honey. Referring to Jesus, John the Baptist said that he was not worthy even to be His slave. John the Baptist baptized his disciples with a water baptism of repentance. Jesus will baptize His disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Malachi 3:1. “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says Yahweh of Armies.

Isaiah 40:3, ‘’A voice of one calling in the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’’ 

Luke 1:15, For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

Application

Jesus Christ’s appearance in Jordan broke the 400 years of prophetic silence between Malachi and Mark. After 400 years, God finally spoke in the voice of a real person, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the Second Person of the Trinity., Hebrews 1:1-2. God became a man and moved into the neighborhood, John 1:14, the message paraphrased version. 

Malachi and Isaiah prophesied the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus Christ 400 and 740 years before Christ respectively. The statistical chance of this happening is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. What if I tell you that Jesus Christ fulfilled 381 Old Testament prophecies? This proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is from God, 2 Timothy 3:16.

Jesus Christ came to earth 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life, and died a cruel death on the cross to pay the punishment for people’s sins. God loved people so much, He sent His Son to die for them so that whoever believes in Him will not die but will live forever, John 3:16, paraphrased. Do you believe this? John the Baptist was the messenger and waymaker for God. Jesus Christ is the message, and Way to God. 

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.

Hebrews 1:1-2

The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.

John 1:14, the message

Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the Good News of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thank You for breaking the 400 years of prophetic silence when You send Your Son to the world as Messiah. Thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the punishment of our sins for us. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace, justification by faith, sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

happy new year iamge
happy new year