According to Mark the ministry of John the Baptist is the beginning of the gospel.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets: behold I send my messenger before your face which shall prepare your way before you. The voice of one crying out in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Mark 1:1-3.
When the gospel of John is taken in to consideration, we find that not only does the ministry of John the Baptist initiate the gospel, but becomes a litmus test on the hearts of all who hear his message.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness to testify of the Light that all through him might believe. John 1:6, 7.
Notice it is said of John that he was sent from God. Now compare this to the answer Jesus gave to the question: what must we do to perform the works of God?
Jesus answered and said: this is the work of God that you believe in the one whom He has sent. John 6:29.
The first tendency is to take this statement as a reference to himself. However, the words of all who are sent by God (apostles) become a basis for faith. We will now fully examine this as a truth based on John the Baptist and the things Jesus said about him. Jesus was asked by what authority He acted and who gave him this authority.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing which if you tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, did it come from heaven or of men? And they reasoned among themselves saying; if we say from heaven he will say unto us, why did you not then believe him? But if we say of men, we fear the people for all hold John as a prophet. They answered Jesus, we cannot tell. And He said unto them, neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things. Matthew 21:24-27.
Because the chief priests and elders of the people refused to acknowledge the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus refused to answer their question, even though they had the authority to ask, for He answered to a Higher Authority. He then continued to expose them with this parable.
But what do you think, a man had two sons and he came to the first and said son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered I will not, but afterward he repented and went. And he came to the second and said likewise, and he answered I will go sir. But then he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said unto him, the first. Jesus then said, truly I say unto you, the publicans and the harlots are entering the kingdom of God before you. For John came in the way of righteousness and you rejected him, but publicans and harlots believed him. And when you had seen (the works of God done by Jesus), you did not repent and believe. Matthew 21:28-32.
We can see here a fulfillment of the word spoken in John sited above, that all through him might believe. (John 1:7) Now compare this to Jesus speaking of John in a passage found in Luke chapter 7.
For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. But the least in the kingdom of God is greater than him.
And all the people that heard and the publicans justified God being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, not being baptized of him. Luke 7:28-30.
Verse 30 literally translates frustrated the counsel of God within themselves. This is usually referred to as hardening the heart against the counsel of God. Now we go to John chapter 10 for a testimony by the people who believed.
And many resorted unto Him and said John did no miracles but all things that John spoke of this man were true. And many believed on Him there. John 10:41, 42.
So we see that those who received the baptism of John also remained to hear him preach. Jesus fulfilled the words spoken before by this prophet, which confirmed their faith. Those who rejected the baptism of John knew nothing of the word that he preached concerning the Christ.
And John bore record saying I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water the same said unto me, upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, the same is He who will baptize with The Holy Ghost. And I saw and testified that this is the Son of God. John 1:32-34.