Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3

This week’s lesson asks, Who was Mark? Julie Smith tells us what we know and don’t know about the author of Mark. Then, S. Kent Brown shows how John the Baptist’s words (Luke 3:16, 17) are evidence that John knew his role as a minister and Jesus’ role as the Christ.

The Gospel of Mark: What Does the Gospel Indicate about Its Author? Excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, a volume of the BYU New Testament Commentary
On the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark, the name Mark does not appear but was evidently added later. The name Mark was rare for Jews but very common in the Roman Empire. Some characteristics of the author can be deduced from the text. Mark explains some Jewish customs; traditionally, it was assumed that this was because Mark (but not the audience) was familiar with them. Alternatively, some scholars feel that these descriptions show a limited understanding of Judaism, perhaps implying that Mark was not Jewish, but this is disputed, especially since Mark contains many biblical allusions. It is also possible that these descriptions are provided for dramatic effect and not because they provide new information to the audience. Perhaps it is safe to say that the data suggests that the author knew (at least some) Aramaic, knew Greek (but wrote it poorly), was likely to have been a Jew, and is associated with Rome.

Luke 3:16, 17: John the Baptist foretells Jesus’ baptism, Excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S.Kent Brown, a volume of the BYU New Testament Commentary
This verse-by-verse commentary goes deep into the words and meaning of these two significant verses.

Luke 3:16, 17: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

John answered: Here John’s response about himself points first to his ministering acts and then to the one who “cometh,” the same order as in John 1:26–27. According to John’s Gospel, the Baptist answers the queries of authorities by saying that he is not the Christ nor Elijah nor “that prophet” (John 1:20–21).

I indeed baptize you with water: Here Luke turns to words of John that he shares with Matthew and Mark, though Matthew adds “unto repentance,” a phrase missing in the records of Mark and Luke (see Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8). Perhaps Luke means to place emphasis on the difference between the water baptism that the Baptist offers and the Messiah’s baptism “with the Holy Ghost and with fire” that not only comes to one who repents but also purges the person’s sins (see 2 Ne. 31:13–14; 3 Ne. 9:20; 12:2).The phrase “with water” or “in water” represents a dative of instrument.

Read the post for the rest of the commentary.