John the Baptist and Jesus carried out their ministries during the same time period, though John’s went on for a much longer period of time than the ministry of Jesus. John went on preaching from an untold age, and Jesus much later in his life. John was equipped with the Holy Ghost since birth, even inside the womb.
For Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon him after he was baptized by John. They crossed paths, and carried a similar message, but not exactly the same.
This post is a product of me trying to answer a great question concerning the ministry of Jesus and of John. But the answer was much too large for a comment section or a social media post, and thought that it would be a great fit for the Answers to Biblical Questions section of the site!
Pearl of Great Price
The particular question that we’ll be tackling was something that I’ve never considered, and needed to do some prayerful reading into the Word, to see what the Lord would have me to know and relay. This is one of the reasons that I enjoy answering questions. When Jesus spoke of a pearl of great price, this is one way to find it (using that piece of scripture for this particular context). The tougher the question, the deeper into the Word I’ll dig for the answers.
That provokes me to say the following, then on to the answer… How many treasures would I have missed out on, if it were not for the great questions that have been presented? Not necessarily presented to me personally, but every once in awhile, I’ll catch wind of someone just presenting a question for anyone to answer.
It’s been my experience, that to search out answers to tough questions, is just the same as the Father leading me by the hand into a mine filled with treasures of all sorts. But if I were to ignore the question (or questions), then I would’ve never taken the first step, and left the Father hanging with his hand out, waiting to take hold.
Speaking proverbially, how often is the Lord waiting for us to take his hand and be lead to the beach; then lead to a particular part of the beach; then lead to turn over some sand, exposing a shell; then lead to pick up the shell; then listen to the instruction he gives as to how to open it. Then lastly, to be lead to open that shell and behold that pearl of great price, and hold on to it?
What I’d suggest is that we avoid thinking we know all, when we need to rather, keep our eyes open for a chance to learn something that the Father would like for us to know. It’s easy to think that you’ve got all the answers when you’re not aware of all the questions. That’s why I enjoy answering questions. Not because I know the answers, but enjoy the course the Lord leads me on to discover the answers!
So here’s the question…
Gospel of the Kingdom
“Do you think the gospel of the kingdom that John the Baptist preached differed from the gospel Jesus preached to Nicodemus? Is there a difference in comparing Mark 1:14-15 with John 3:24?”
To answer the first question, the short answer is yes there is a difference. John preached that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and Jesus was telling Nicodemus how to see and enter the Kingdom of God.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
There’s no mention in the Gospels, of John the Baptist preaching about the Kingdom of God at all (at least not that I could find. If you know of any mentions of this in the Gospels please let me know in the comments down below.)
The first step to see a difference between what Jesus was teaching vs what John was teaching, is to realize that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are not synonymous. The Kingdom of Heaven is a particular place, and the Kingdom of God is everything. In other words, The Kingdom of God is everything, with Heaven as it’s capital. John was preaching something that was new, when he was declaring that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.
Up until that point, nobody expected to go to heaven when they died, but rather to Paradise; the portion of Sheol that was reserved for the righteous. Jesus gives us a glance into that scene in Luke 16:20-31
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
I believe that the ministry of John the Baptist differed from the ministry of Jesus. The reason I think that way, is because of what we can read in John 3, as John was discussing Christ to his apostles:
31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
We can see what John said in verse 31 & 32 come to life when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus. I believe that between the two (Jesus & John), the major difference of ministries was John preached from an earthly point of view, and Jesus was spiritual. But when it comes to Jesus, who is “he who is above all,” as John puts it; he wore all hats, so to speak. He covered all ground and touched on things from an earthly perspective when necessary, and a spiritual perspective given from the Father.
He addressed all that he needed to, and went places above and beyond what John did concerning what was preached and taught, even before John was in prison. When you read Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus, you could tell that he received what Jesus was saying as if hearing it from John, or at least from an earthly viewpoint, as he took everything physically.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Between the two, John covered one side of the quarter, and Jesus covered both sides, for an easily imaginable way to describe what I’m trying to say. John preached the Kingdom of Heaven, and the up and coming, unprecedented, and unimaginable direct access to the Father in Heaven. He says that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, or in other words,within reach, just at our fingertips, etc..
Jesus preached about both. The Kingdom of Heaven and also the Kingdom of God. My opinion derived from scripture, is that it’s the world we live in, coupled with the sinful nature of man, that keeps us from gaining a glimpse into the Kingdom of God. We’re surrounded by the Kingdom of Darkness, and it’s only through the Holy Ghost, that we can penetrate through the darkness and see what the Lord is talking about, concerning the Kingdom of Heaven..
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2nd Part of the Question
“Is there a difference in comparing Mark 1:14-15 with John 3:24?”
Before answering this question, let’s get our eyes on the noted scriptures.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
24 For John was not yet cast into prison. (to put this into context of the question, this verse is sandwiched between Jesus talking to Nicodemus and John the Baptist talking to his disciples.)
I believe in order to make sense of what appears to be a discrepancy, is to understand a couple of things about the book of Mark. Mark is extremely condensed in it’s content. What I mean is, Mark is the text equivalent of a man of few words when it comes to an account of the ministry of Christ Jesus.
On the surface it appears that Mark is saying that John was imprisoned as soon as Jesus began his journey back from the wilderness, but that’s not what it says. It just simply says “after that,” which is literally true. Just not immediately after that or as soon as Jesus was done being tempted.
There’s an untold space of time that Mark didn’t feel lead to elaborate on, which is fine, because Apostle John’s record gave us deeper insight instead. Each of the four Gospels concentrate on different things that transpired, and some left out what others concentrate on, and we can see that just by the difference in length of each book.
Matthew has 28 chapters
Mark has 16 chapters
Luke has 24 chapters
John has 21 chapters
If they all told the same parts of the same story, they’d all be the same length (or much closer to the same.) Even still, the Book of John tells us that all of this is merely scratching the surface when it comes to the life and ministry of the Lord on earth, as he makes sure to add the following:
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
But I digress… I guess what I would like to say, is that John 3 took place between Mark 13 & 14. John the Baptist’s account that spanned from John 3:25-36, took place well after John baptized Jesus, which we can find in John talking about in chapter 1. Please be careful to realize, that this is John the Baptist’s testimony of what went on while baptizing Jesus, and untold amount of time beforehand. This is not where it actually happened. John’s audience that day were his disciples, priests, and Levites, from Jerusalem.
I’d venture to say that what John the Baptist’s testimony in John 1 took place with a minimum of 41-50 days after Jesus was lead into the wilderness. That conclusion is because Jesus didn’t come out of the wilderness till the 40 day fast was over, and there’s a couple of things recorded (such as his conversation with Nicodemus, and baptizing, growing greater than John, etc.) that back up that conclusion. Plus, John eyeballed Jesus midway through his account and said, “Hey, that’s the guy!!”
Jesus was lead out of the wilderness empowered by the Holy Ghost and moved forward with his Ministry. Please see Why was Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness? Jesus and the disciples that were following him at that time, (it seems to me that only few were with the Lord before John was imprisoned) and John along with his disciples, are recorded to have been baptizing in Judea simultaneously.
Bottom line being, Mark’s account sliced off a great deal of time (Matthew’s account did also by the way), skipping over allot of what we find in John.
Thank you for checkout this page & I hope that the goal that started me down this road, helped to clear the waters concerning what looks to be a discrepancy, but is actually just a lack of pointing to detail. With the Gospels, one hand washes the other. When we find a discrepancy, (especially in the Gospels) it’s always something to mark down and research further. These are the things that lead us to dig deeper and make discoveries that bless the soul!
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