Entering God’s Kingdom

KEY VERSE: “Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” —Mark 1:11


JOHN THE BAPTIST, prophetically described as the last of the prophets (Matt. 11:13), was the forerunner of our Lord, as many Old Testament Scriptures pointed out. His mission as the messenger of Jehovah consisted not only in announcing Jesus, but also doing a work described as “making straight,” or ready, the path before the Messiah.—Mal. 3:1; Isa. 40:3

John and Jesus began their ministries at the age of thirty. Since John was six months older than his cousin, it follows that John had been preaching for six months when Jesus came to him at the river Jordan to be baptized. John’s message to Israel, from the very beginning of his ministry, was repentance. He preached a message designed to prepare their hearts to receive Messiah. As a result, Jesus’ request for immersion surely must have perplexed John because he had not been told why Jesus wished to be baptized, nor what that baptism signified. John well knew, however, Jesus’ virtuous, undefiled character. He knew Jesus had no sins of which to repent. In fact, John preached: “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed baptize you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy [Spirit].”—Mark 1:7,8

We now see that our Lord’s baptism into water was something new; it symbolized his baptism into death—a burial of his will into the will of his Father—a consecration to do the Father’s will, even unto death which ended on the cross three-and-a-half years later with the cry, “It is finished!”—John 19:30

When Jesus rose up out of the water, “He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10,11) More detail is added to this same event: “John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”—John 1:32-34

Mark 1:12-15 says : “Immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” The Emphatic Diaglott renders verse 15: “The time has been accomplished and God’s Royal Majesty has approached.” Israel’s king was present, but even though “he came unto his own and his own received him not,” God’s plan did not meet defeat.

It was, however, three-and-a-half more years before God sent Peter to Cornelius, to pour out the Holy Spirit upon the first Gentiles. (Acts 10) This, however, was but a small beginning. God’s plan for this Gospel Age involves the call and development of a class of 144,000 (Rev. 14:1), who are to live and reign with Christ in his thousand-year kingdom soon to come, bringing with it blessings to all the families of the earth.—Rev. 20:6; Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:29

Dawn Bible Students Association
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