Friday, March 4, 2011

Mark in March

Maybe I should explain.

I have accepted a challenge to read the Book of Mark in the Bible… 16 days… 16 chapters.  Well, already, I am behind, so hopefully, I will complete all 16 chapters in the month of March, hence Mark in March.

I decided that I didn’t want to just read it, but digest it verse by verse, asking God to help me dig deeper.  I’m sure it will speak to me… already has, in new ways and maybe different than it would speak to you, because we are different, so I would love for you to join me and share, in a comment, how Mark speaks to you.

Chapter 1 (continued)

9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me complete joy.”  (Isaiah 42:1)

12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

Jesus came from Nazareth, his home town, which indicates that this is the very beginning of his ministry or the beginning of the three years He taught and healed on earth.

How did He start his ministry?  By coming to the one who was announcing His arrival.

These verses bring up many questions in my mind:

Why was Jesus baptized?

  • Was it to confirm what John had been doing when he baptized those who repented and believed?
  • Was it to identify Himself as a believer, also?
  • Was it to identify Himself as a servant of God, revealing His submission to God, the Father?
  • Was it because He was flesh and blood and He was setting an example for the world?
  • Was this symbol of dying to self and being raised in submission to God required for the Holy Spirit to descend upon Him?

Jesus was flesh and blood and He was setting an example for us.  Everything He did was an example for us.  He was God in the flesh, but He humbled Himself to that of a servant and humbly submitted himself to be baptized by John, the one who believed in Him and preached about His coming.

Dove Soaring with Wings Expanded

After He came out of the Jordan River, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove proving that His heart and life was surrendered to the will of the Father; proving to John that Jesus was committed to being the Messiah.  Proving to us that we need to do the same.

It is interesting to me that John preached in the wilderness and Jesus was baptized by John in the wilderness, not into a church building.  Baptism is an act of obedience and is part of the relationship between God and the believer and identifies the believer as now belonging to God and His Kingdom.  Should baptism take place at the beginning of that relationship?  I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure that Jesus had a relationship with the Father long before He was baptized (recall Him teaching in the Temple at the age of twelve), but His water and Holy Spirit baptism was at the beginning of His three years of recorded ministry.

Immediately, not days later, but immediately, the Holy Spirit begin to guide Jesus, first to the wilderness, for forty days.  For forty days He was tempted by Satan.  Was Jesus alone?  No.  Remember, the Holy Spirit was with Him and (I love this) “the angels took care of Him.”

The Father had announced from the opened heavens,

  • “This is my Beloved Son, who I am fully pleased with.”

Next, He was tempted by Satan.

AND the angels took care of Him…. among the wild animals!

This says to me that new believers and followers of Jesus soon find themselves in the “wilderness” being tempted and tried, but with their trust in God, the angels will take care of them.  What a wonderful truth! See Psalm 91.

I believe we grow the most in “the wilderness,” because we draw near to the Father, just as children do and He teaches us in these experiences.

If Satan would dare to tempt Jesus, why do we think he will leave us alone?  We can not stand against him if we do not have the power of the One who did stand firm against Him, the One who defeated Satan and sin and death on the cross and with his resurrection!

What does Mark 1: 9-13 say to you?


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