Right guys, tonight we’re going to be looking at Mark 1 verses 9 to 15. If you could turn to it now, I’m going to read it out before we begin.
So, previously in Mark’s gospel...
However the message doesn’t stop there.
“in those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptised in the River Jordan”...
‘Nazareth, can anything good come from there?”
To make things seem even stranger, Jesus is then baptised in the river by John. Last time we heard in verse 7 that John wouldn’t be worthy to even untie the promised one’s shoes. Something doesn’t seem right. If this is the promised one, why is he acting like this. Baptism is something for sinners, a sign of a broken relationship with God. How could Jesus possibly be the promised one, when he’s just the same as anybody else!?!?!
With these questions in mind, Mark pushes on with his account showing us three very important things about Jesus. The first one is this, Jesus is endorsed by John the Baptist.
As we heard last week, John the Baptist had a diet of locusts and wild honey, and wore a cloak made of camels hair. Although these things sound strange to us today, the Jewish audience then would have seen many similarities in John to one of the greatest prophets of Israel, Elijah. The Old Testament had said that Elijah would return before the coming of the Lord, and that he would prepare the way. John the Baptist’s clothes and message, fit with this. He is preparing the way for the coming of the Lord. So, if Jesus is the promised one, why is he baptised by John the Baptist? Does he really need to repent and turn back to God? We can find out more about this in the book of Matthew. Please join me in turning to Matthew chapter 3:13.
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.
John knows that he isn’t worthy to be baptising Jesus. He knows that he is a sinful man, and cannot be right before God by his own merit or works. However, Jesus insists, he asks to be baptised by John. Not because he wants, or even needs to repent, but instead, because he wants to be like the people he came to save. He wants to be like his people, so that he can be the perfect sacrifice for them.
So, point one - Jesus is endorsed by the John the Baptist, the predicted prophet.
One box crossed off the tick list for a potential Messiah.
Point two: Jesus is endorsed by God the Father.
To turn back to scripture, in verse 10 we see that Jesus’ baptism doesn’t have the expected ending. As soon as Jesus comes up out of the water, something spectacular happens. The heavens are torn open and the holy spirit descends on him. Following this, God’s voice proclaims that Jesus is the son of God, and that he is very pleased with him. What a spectacle, what a show.
Imagine yourself at a concert with many thousands of others. You’ve been through the warm up acts, they were all right, but that’s not what you’ve been waiting for, that’s not what has been promised on the tickets. The lights go out, and the arena goes dark. You can make out a silhouette on the stage. Is it him, you think to yourself, you’ve been waiting so long. A blinding spotlight lights up the centre of the stage. The most famous of rock stars walks to the microphone – it’s unimaginable how they got him to come to the arena. His voice booms across the loudspeakers, as he announces the new musical talent you’ve heard so much about, and waited so long to hear. With such an endorsement, this guy must be everything you’ve been waiting for, and more.
Jesus is God’s promised one, and all who’ve come to the river to repent and be baptised will know this, because he’s had God’s seal of approval.
Jesus is endorsed by God the father.
If you’ll look down at verse twelve with me, you’ll see that there’s a bit of a scene change. Jesus has just been proclaimed to be the promised one by God, and had the spirit come down to mark him. The one that Israel has been waiting more than a thousand years for, is finally here. God’s people can at last be rescued from their captives, and the world be judged!
However that’s not what happens, at least not at this stage. Jesus is driven out into the wilderness, and remains there for forty days. Although this is perhaps more than a little unexpected, the reason is reassuring. We’ve heard that Jesus wanted to be baptised by John in order to be like his people in every way. Similarly, going into the desert for forty days allowed him to be tempted like the Israelites were during their long journey from Egypt, through the desert. Mark shows us that Jesus knew temptation, yet overcame it – he proved himself the part.
Perhaps to extend the earlier illustration a little further, the long awaited protégé announced by the rock star, starts playing. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before. He’s lived up to the every ounce of the speculation by playing in a way that took your breath away, in a way that only he could. Whilst Jesus is man, and he went through things that we struggle with too, he didn’t turn from God. He didn’t give in to temptation, he held to God.
Jesus proved himself to be the promised one.
So to do a little recap, we’ve seen that:
- Firstly: Jesus is endorsed by John the Baptist
- Secondly: Jesus is endorsed by God the Father
- And thirdly: Jesus has proven himself
Three pretty big affirmations that Jesus is the promised one for the people of Israel. He is the one who will put man right with God and will be the judge.
However what does that mean for us, how should we respond?
Jesus’ words in verse fifteen make plain what our response should be.
‘The time is fulfilled’
‘The kingdom of God is at hand’
‘repent and believe in the gospel’
‘The kingdom of God is at hand’
‘repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ’