The Gospel of Mark – Part 3
The Baptism of Jesus
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – July 14th, 2019
- This morning we are turning again to the Gospel of Mark for the third installment in our series. We are turning to the baptism of Jesus found in Mark 1:9-11.
- So far in this book, Mark tells us that this is the Gospel, the “good news” of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God.
- He then immediately points us to Old Testament prophecy that predicted the coming of a messenger that was to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
- John the Baptist was this messenger who called people to repentance so they would be prepared to receive the Lord. He called out to them (and us) in our wilderness of sin to repent and be forgiven. Conviction of sin with the acknowledgment for the need to be forgiven is the starting point for all people to receive the righteousness that is in Christ the Lord.
- While John was fulfilling his calling through preaching and baptizing, Jesus came to be baptized as well. The baptism of Jesus is recorded in all four Gospels, and from the Gospel of Mark, three main points jump out to us from the page: the obedience of the Son, the empowering of the Spirit, and the affirmation of the Father. The three-part Godhead converge as each one fulfills their role in this significant event.
The obedience of the Son
Mark 1:9 ESV
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
- While John was fulfilling his ministry, Jesus came down from where he grew up (Nazareth of Galilee) specifically to be baptized by John in the Jordan river.
- Why by John? Because he was specifically sent as the messenger to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.
- Why in the Jordan? John could have baptized people in any body of water. It would have been more convenient for people if he did so next to the major city of Jerusalem, but he did not. He also could have baptized people in the sea of Galilee where there were greater numbers of people and it would have been closer to where Jesus lived. Neither of these places were chosen.
- The wilderness and the Jordan were specifically chosen by John as he was led by the Spirit. This was done I believe for a number of reasons.
- First, a difficult location weeds out those who are just opportunists, curious, or casual observers. Those there were intentional about going.
- Second, the wilderness was symbolic of people coming out of their sin. This was the case of Israel when they were in between Egypt and the promise land. They wandered around the wilderness for 40 years because of their deliberate disobedience to God, testing him (thousands of them died because of this) and for doubting God in His ability to bring them into the Land.
- Third, the Jordan was selected because it was that very river that the people of God (Israel) had to crossover to get into the land that was promised. The Jordan was the boundary line that separated the “wilderness” from the promised land. And they were to “pass through” the waters out of obedience and faith to God to enter into these new places and new stages of active ministry. God miraculously divided the waters for them, and they were told to remember the moment by building a monument (see Josh. chapter 3 & 4).
- Matthew records Jesus’ baptism with a few more details. He wrote:
Matt 3:13-16 ESV
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
- When Jesus came to John to be baptized, He was not being baptized because He had sin to confess and repent of, but He did so “to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus fulfilled all righteousness in this act of passing through the waters of the Jordan as a sign that He continued to obediently follow the plan of His Father and trust Him and His promise. This was the start of His active ministry. Jesus fulfilled all righteousness to His continued active obedience to the Father.
- Like Christ, our role is to follow God in our faithful and faith-filled obedience to Him and He continues to lead us into the ministry He has called us. Continue to follow Him and trust Him in all things.
- So, first we see the obedience of the Son, then second, we see the empowering of the Spirit.
The empowering of the Spirit
Mark 1:10 ESV
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
- Here we see one of Mark’s “immediately” in use. As soon as Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit of God, the third person on the Trinity, descended on Him like a dove. The Holy Spirit came from heaven, the place where God the Father dwells, and descended on Jesus. The Holy Spirit came on Him. He did so to empower Him in ministry. It is the Holy Spirit of God through which the power of God is made manifest. This was not the Holy Spirit giving Jesus a new nature like He does for us (Jesus did not sin, nor did He have a sin nature), but this was the Holy Spirit coming upon Him that was power in which Jesus ministered through. Even Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit for His ministry, and your ministry needs the power of the Holy Spirit as well.
- No true supernatural change c take place without supernatural power. God is the change agent and we are the vessels in which He gives His power to and through us for others. The gifts and the callings are for you, but they are not about you.
- Just like Jesus, we must have the power of the Holy Spirt on us as we obediently fulfill the ministry that He has called us to. We cannot do so in our strength. We must recognize where our power comes from and rely on God to do His ministry through us.
- In this passage we see the obedience of the Son, the empowerment of the Spirit and the affirmation of the Father.
The affirmation of the Father
Mark 1:11 ESV
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
- I think that placed inside every child is a longing to be affirmed by their father. This is true of us and it is true of Jesus as well. In the obedience of the Son and the empowering of the Spirit, the Father affirms the identity of the Son, that He is “beloved.” He is “dearly and deeply loved.” Knowing that you are dearly and deeply loved by perfection in a personal address in a public space is a hugely powerful thing. It gives you stability and confidence in knowing who you are and that you are secure in that relationship. Some of you need to know that you are beloved of the Father. You can’t earn His love but just receive it and live from it and not for it.
- God the Father told Jesus that He is beloved and also that He is “well pleased” with Him. Jesus, in all that He did, pleased the Father and God Himself affirmed Him in that. Now, can you be beloved by God and not please Him? Yes, just like our children, who are beloved by us, can do things that please us or not please us. This does not change our love for them, but our pleasure in them is reflected in their character, actions and activities. They can do something that pleases us, and they can do somethings that displease us, but this does not change our love for them. We, as believers, are dearly and deeply loved by God and in turn should also strive to always please are Father like Jesus did (John 8:29).
- Hopefully we can live our lives in the same manner as the Apostle Paul who wrote:
2 Cor 5:9-10 ESV
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
- Knowing that you are fully loved, make it your aim to please the Father. In doing so you will receive a great reward when you appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Live each day in light of that day. Make this your chief aim and may your reward be great.
- The baptism of Jesus was an extremely significant event when the obedience of the Son was met with the empowerment of the spirit and the affirmation of the Father.
- In the same way, may your obedience to the Father be empowered by the Spirit and you minister from the knowledge that you are beloved, as you aim to please the Lord. Know that in doing so, you will have a great reward on the day you appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
- As a concluding prayer, I am going to pray for you the words of Paul from Col. 1:9-14:
Col 1:9-14 ESV
I ask “that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.