Working through chapter 1 this time I asked the question why does Mark quote these passages here? Why did the Holy Spirit, the ultimate author of Mark, put these here at the beginning? Note that verse 1 says that Mark is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the first thing out of the blocks is the two Old Testament quotes. Enquiring minds want to know, why?
What occurred to me is Mark is tying the gospel of Jesus Christ to both the major prophet Isaiah and the Minor prophet Malachi. Isaiah spoke to Judah leading up to the time of the captivity. Many of the messianic promises are in that book. Malachi prophesied to Judah after they returned to the land and rebuilt the temple and the wall.
Mark is reminding us that this gospel is not a new idea. It is deeply rooted in the plan of God revealed in the Old Testament. Literally from Genesis 3 on God is about redeeming His people. Everything that is recorded for us in the Old Testament lays the foundation for the coming of the Messiah.
Mark notes this and then immediately illustrates the connection describing how John fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3.
This is a strong way to start. It is also a great place to show your kids the way the two testaments interact.