Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels. The term “synoptic” comes from the Greek and means “seeing together.” These three gospels cover a lot of the same material, while John seems to deliberately pick events that are different. So, as you’re going through Mark you might think, “This seems familiar.” That’s because it is! But it’s for a purpose, as we discussed yesterday. The differing accounts help us get a fuller picture of events, all done under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21 “for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
John the baptizer, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, preparing peoples hearts for Him:
Malachi 4:5-6 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, to whom at Horeb I gave rules and regulations for all Israel to obey. Look, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD arrives. He will encourage fathers and their children to return to me, so that I will not come and strike the earth with judgment.”
Luke 1:17 “And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”
John readily points to Jesus as His superior. Jesus will not just be led by the Spirit, Jesus is the one who will baptize with the Spirit! And both the Spirit and the Father authenticate His ministry during His baptism. Which is probably the whole reason Jesus was baptized to begin with. He certainly didn’t need to repent, but He did need to be revealed, and at the same time He authenticates John the baptizers ministry.
We’re missing part of the story here, which the gospel of John provides. Simon and Andrew readily follow Jesus, as do James and John. Why were they so ready? Because at least Simon and Andrew were present for John the baptizer’s ministry and revelation about Jesus (John 1:29-42). They then presumably traveled back to Galilee with Jesus and saw Him perform His first recorded miracle (John 2:1-11). This explains why they were so ready to go with Him, and probably also mirrors how God works in so many of our lives. The Holy Spirit uses life events and circumstances to prepare us for the call to follow!