Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Mark 1:9-15

"9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" ~ Mark 1:9-15

The phrase "Jesus came" occurs twice in this passage. This phrase forms the structure of our study today. All four gospel writers record the baptism of Jesus. As we have seen, a spiritual awakening was taking place in Israel. It had been four hundred years since God had spoken to Israel through the prophets. And now, there was a new prophet on the scene. He was preaching out in the wilderness beyond the Jordan River. Many were walking long distances out into the desert to listen to John the Baptist. 

John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. And, as is noted in v.9, Jesus was baptized by John. Since John's baptism was a baptism of repentance, there comes an obvious observation as to why the Lord Jesus was baptized. In being baptized, the Lord Jesus associated Himself with sinful mankind. 

According to v.12-13 of today's passage, the Lord Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan for forty days. This was the final event, before the Lord Jesus actually begins His public ministry. This conflict with the Devil took place for almost six weeks. In many ways, it is the final exam of the Lord Jesus in the process of being prepared to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of man. As Messiah, the Lord Jesus came to render sin and death null and void. In order to do this, He had to defeat Satan head to head. If the Lord Jesus is our Savior, He has to conquer Satan. Today, we are just considering the first four verses.

It is important to know that Jesus was a man. Yes, He is God, but He voluntarily set aside His privileges as God. He didn't cease to be God, He is fully God and fully man. He did what the Father wanted Him to do and He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, He set aside the use of His divine powers and submitted Himself to true humanness and allowed the Spirit of God to work His work in and through Him.

The Lord Jesus was fully submitted to the Holy Spirit who led Him into the wilderness. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses deny the deity of Christ. But, the demonic world doesn't. Repeatedly, in that wilderness that day, the Devil said to Him, "Since you are the Son of God." He employed the first class conditional sentence which means when you use an "if" followed by a positively structured sentence, it means "since you are the Son of God." Satan knew exactly who he was dealing with, this is why he tried to pressure the Lord Jesus to sin.

Every temptation that came to the Lord Jesus was a temptation from the outside of Him. It could not have come from within Him because He was sinless. However, this doesn't mean the temptations weren't real. His temptation came at Him to its maximum capacity because He endured the fullest pressure and never gave in to it. 

We read in 1 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who had never committed a sin to be sin so that we may be made right with God." He didn't need to repent, but He needed to be baptized in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled. This was the first step leading Him to be made sin for us.

Matthew 3:15 reads, "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.'" 

In order to meet the righteous demands of God for fallen mankind, the Lord Jesus had to be baptized by John the Baptist. The baptism of Jesus is our baptism. When He heard the Father's voice say, “You are my beloved son; in you I am well-pleased", it was meant also for us.

Water baptism is but a symbol of Spirit Baptism which unites and identifies us with the One who is our Savior. The scriptures are clear that we were born dead in our sin to God, and we were made alive as a result of believing in and receiving the free gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. The baptism of the Lord Jesus in the Jordan River, followed by the temptation in the wilderness, made it possible for us to be the recipients of the words we find in Mark 1:11, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."  

I end with a great quote from the late Mike Yaconelli, "There have been so many mentors, Christians whom I admired greatly, who stumbled and fell, never again to recover their faith; so many “truths” about the Gospel that turned out to be false; so many casualties, so many losses, so many assumptions. One such assumption has haunted me throughout all my Christian experience: the assumption of the Changed Life. I was taught that if I was a Christian, then people would see a marked difference in my life!!! And further, I was taught that the closer I was to God—the more spiritual I was—the greater and more visible that difference would be. I have always believed that Christianity changed you outside...not just inside. But, my definition of “change” has changed. The change is not so much outward as it is inward. This difference that God makes is often visible only to God...and no one else. It is a new way of looking at God, a new way of understanding God, an inner new-birth that liberates us not only from sin, but from our old way of viewing God. It is intimacy rather than ecstasy; it is seeing rather than speaking; it is loving rather than living; it is dancing rather than believing; it is silence rather than sentences; it is worship rather than wordship; it is yearning rather than conviction; it is faith characterized more by passion than belief."