Matthew 3; Mark 1; John 1
John convicts Israel of sin. Many repent. Many Pharisees and Saduccees he rebukes for trusting in their heritage and not bearing fruit of repentance. Do we trust in past spiritual accomplishments, and complacently listen for new teachers to teach new things as a curiosity or a hobby? Or do we seek the Word of God? John points to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus is baptized by John. The Father speaks, and the Spirit hovers over the waters of this new creation work begun. God says it is good. The world is set right in Christ; are you in Him, part of that "new world order"?
Nathaniel believes Jesus is the king of Israel, since Jesus saw him before Nathaniel met Him.
Jesus is the ladder between heaven and earth, the same one Jacob dreamed.
John preaching applies the values of the kingdom of God - justice and mercy - to their daily lives.
John preached against the sins of the political rulers, naming names. This landed him in jail, and finally beheaded, very unjustly. When is the last time you stood against wrongdoing, at personal cost to yourself? Luke's geneology of Jesus takes us back to Adam, instead of to Abraham. It appears to give us Mary's lineage, where Matthew 1 gave us Joseph's. Mary is said here to come from David's son Nathan, where Joseph came from David's son Solomon.
Mark 1; Matthew 4
Jesus is tempted in the wilderness, returns preaching the same gospel of kingdom and repentance that John did, calls His first disciples, and heals many, becoming very popular. Jesus' reaction to popularity was longer, earlier-in-the-day prayer. What is yours? The popularity turns to opposition, though, when Jesus says He is sent to the Gentiles.
Luke 5; Mark 2
Jesus continues healing and casting out demons, using one case as an argument for His authority to forgive sins.
Jesus is different than expected. He eats and drinks with tax collectors. He doesn't fast as devoutly as John or the Pharisees. Just as you don't treat old and new wine the same, you can't treat Jesus and other teachers the same. Jesus is Older and Better.