It’s significant to acknowledge the beginning of new ventures. We do it all the time in our culture. (Ribbon cuttings; commencement ceremonies; first toasts at wedding receptions; NFL/ NBA draft shows; opening ceremonies of Olympics; businesses frame their first dollar earned; etc. What new beginnings have you recently celebrated? How?
Mark 1:9-13 highlights the beginning of Jesus’ ministry- the mission for which he was sent "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
OUT OF OBSCURITY -- 1:9
Jesus lived an ordinary, unknown life for 30 years of preparation (Luke 2:40, 52; 3:23; Mt 13:54-56). The town he came from was insignificant and of poor reputation (John 1:46). Most parents would have moved into a different school district! Then He emerges out of obscurity.
IDENTIFIES -- 1:9
Why would the Sinless One submit to baptism? After all, He doesn’t have need of repenting since He is perfect (Heb 4:15; 7:26; 2Cor 5:21; 1John 3:5; 1Pet 2:22; 3:18). Even John the Baptist has this question (Matt 3:14). 2 Reasons:
To publicly IDENTIFY with sinners! He’s standing where the sinners stand! In 3 years, He’ll be hanging where the sinners should’ve hung, bearing the sins from which they are now repenting (Mark 10:38, 45; 2Cor 5:21; 1Pet 3:18; John 1:29; Heb 2:17; Col 2:13)!
To OBEY His Father. Jesus said “...it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15). Jesus lived a righteous life – He was actively obedient (John 15:10; Acts 3:14; 4:30; 1Pet 3:18). The Father’s will is always at the center of His thoughts (John 4:34; 5:19,30; 17:4).
EMPOWERED -- 1:10
If Jesus was God, why did he need the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Remember,Jesus is fully God and fully human. The Bible teaches that Christ has two natures. His divine nature is exactly the same as the Father. His human nature is exactly like our human nature, yet without sin (Phil 2:6-9; Mt 1:23). In His human nature Jesus was capable of being strengthened by and filled with the Holy Spirit! The visible dove shows us the power source of all Jesus’ ministry (teaching, healing, casting out demons, etc) (Luke 4:1,14).
AFFIRMED -- 1:11
The Father busts open heaven to express His DELIGHT in His Son. “Thank you in advance for your world-redeeming mission! I love you and I’m proud to be your dad!” Stepping out into new ventures requires confidence. This event was the ribbon cutting of Jesus’ public ministry. How would an affirmation like this elevate your Identity, Security, and Significance? Do you realize that, in Christ, we too, are the Father’s beloved son? (Rom 8:15-16; Eph 1:3-14; 1Pet 1:3-9; Col 1:9-14; 2:6-7; 1John 3:1-3)
TEMPTED -- 1:12-13 (Matt 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-14)
It feels like whiplash between verses 11 and 12. The glory of Jesus’ baptism and the Father’s approving smile is immediately followed by the hardship of wilderness and temptation. And the Spirit Himself is the driver while Jesus is the willing follower!
Luke 4:1-14 - From this account, what do you learn about:
a) Jesus? b) Satan and his strategy, c) your ability to withstand temptation?
From God’s perspective, this wilderness experience was a trial of strength between the Son of God and the ruler of this world (Jn 12:31), not a moral test to see if Jesus would give in to sin. It’s crystal-clear who the Victor is! Satan attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Jesus to abandon the hard path of obedience and suffering so as to disqualify Him as the Messiah.
THE BIG PICTURE – “WE’RE BACK!!”
Before we move on, lets reflect on Mark 1:1-13.
Creation and Redemption
The opening phrase of Mark’s Gospel, “The beginning of the gospel” harkens us back to Genesis 1:1-2 and the beginning of creation (Gen 1:1-2, 26; John 1:1; Col 1:16). Just like the
original creation was a project of the 3-in-1 Triune God (God the Father, Spirit, Word), the redemption of the world would be a project of the Triune God: God the Father, Spirit, Son. Mark wants us to see that the arrival of Jesus – The Messiah, The Son of God, The King of the Kingdom of God - is as breathtaking as the creation of the World!
First Adam, Second Adam
Again, in Genesis 1-3 we see The Spirit moving, God speaking, followed by Satan tempting Adam & Eve. In Mark 1, we see the Spirit hovering, God speaking, followed by Satan tempting Jesus. The first Adam, in the garden, failed his temptation. The last Adam (1Cor 15:21-22, 45; Romans 5:12-21), Christ, in the wilderness, was victorious over the tempter.
This is Mark’s introduction of Jesus. What stands out to you? In what way will these truths impact your response this week to Jesus call, “Follow Me.”