The Gospel according to Mark begins with an introduction to John the BaptistJohn the Baptizer was the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah, preaching a gospel of repentance and preparing the way of the Lord More and a brief description of Jesus’ baptismJesus was baptized (literally, "dipped") in the Jordan River by John the Baptizer, at which time he was acclaimed from heaven as God's Son, the Beloved. Much later baptism became one of the sacraments of the Church, the action by which a person is incorporated... More and his testing in the wilderness.
Drawing on the prophetic words of Malachi 3:1 and IsaiahIsaiah, son of Amoz, who prophesied in Jerusalem, is included among the prophets of the eighth century B.C.E. (along with Amos, Hosea, and Micah)--preachers who boldly proclaimed God's word of judgment against the economic, social, and religious disorders of their time. More 40:3, Mark’s first beginning identifies John the Baptist as the forerunner of JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More. John’s baptism of repentance draws people from Jerusalem and takes place in the Jordan River. His message draws attention to the one who comes after him and who will baptize with the HolyHoly is a term that originally meant set apart for the worship or service of God. While the term may refer to people, objects, time, or places, holiness in Judaism and Christianity primarily denotes the realm of the divine More Spirit (1:2-8).
The Gospel’s second beginning is the story of Jesus coming to John from Nazareth in Galilee to be baptized. As Jesus comes up from the waters, the heavens are torn apart, a manifestation of the Spirit descends in the form of a dove, and a voice from heaven announces, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (1:9-11).
The Gospel’s third beginning is the narrative of Jesus being driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days to face the testing of Satan. There among the wild beasts, angels minister to Jesus (1:12-13).
The Gospel’s fourth beginning ties the arrest of John to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee, where he proclaims God’s good news (gospel). Jesus’ announcement of the nearness of God’s kingly reign and rule calls for turning around in repentance and believing in the good news that takes place in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth (1:14-15).