The Diagnosis

Read: Mark 1:4-8

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (v. 8)

All four Gospels make clear that John the Baptist was the necessary forerunner to Jesus. You can’t get to Jesus without going through John. And John was all about repentance. John’s message was simple: Each of us has a problem with sin that needs to be confessed. Each of us needs to go down into the waters of baptism to drown out our sinful self so that a new self can come to life. In short, John was sent to diagnose a spiritual ailment that only God’s Christ can heal. John was sent to make the world hungry for Jesus.

By way of analogy: suppose you went to your doctor for a routine physical. Suppose that before you saw the doctor, a nurse came into the room with a large syringe and needle. “Wait a second!” you might exclaim. “I don’t need that. I’m not sick!” No one wants a cure for a sickness they don’t believe they have.

But suppose instead the doctor came in first, examined you, and informed you that you had a very serious medical condition but that thankfully there is a highly effective medicine to get rid of the disease. Well, in that case when the nurse came in with the syringe, you would be far more likely to roll up your sleeve.

John’s role was to diagnose the disease of sin. That way when Jesus shows up with his saving blood, you are eager to be washed clean through what Jesus offers. —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, give thanks for God’s gospel medicine through Jesus.

About the Author

Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.