These are my notes from a sermon series I did though the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for grammatical or spelling errors. I present it to you as-is.
Before we take a look at God’s Word this morning I want to give you an update on some things:
- I want to say thank you to those who have been giving to the new ministry campus. We currently have over $70,000. That is a great start and we still have a long ways to go, but we will get there. It will take time, patience, faithfulness and sacrifice.
- Last month, Mantel Teter were scheduled to meet with various groups and ministry teams from the church to help with the vision and mission process of the church and how that translates into our ministry campus. Due to weather we had to reschedule. Mantel Teter will be meeting with these groups on Wednesday, March 18th.
Proverbs 15:22 says, Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success (NLT). Mantel Teter, who specialize in helping churches do what we are doing, they are a part of our advisory team. Let’s pray together about this.
Today we are going to take a look at some lessons from the baptism of Jesus. We are going through the gospel of Mark and usually I have clear points for you to follow, like point 1, point 2, point 3 and so on. But today, we are simply going to walk through this event in the life of Jesus and see what God says to us. So let’s get started.
Mark 1:9-11, 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 great joy.” (NLT)
On your outline you will find the scripture broken down into bite size pieces. We are going to feast on these today. If you hear something, think of something, write it down. Take some notes on what God is saying to you today from this.
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.
Verse 9 begins with the two words, “One day.” Its amazing how a normal day turns into an extraordinary day and often times we are not even aware of it. There were a few thousand people standing around one day listening to John the Baptist preach and baptize people. One day Jesus shows up and approaches John and this begins an incredible public ministry of Jesus. It’s amazing to me how important some of these “one days” are.
- One day some relatives showed up to my house and my mom gave her life to Jesus.
- One day my mom decided to start dragging me to church.
- One day I was actually listening to what that old preacher was saying.
- One day I gave my life to Jesus and decided to follow Him.
It’s amazing to me how important some of these “one days” are. Maybe today will be of those “one days” you talk about.
Well, Mark says, “One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee….” Let’s stop there for a moment. I know this sounds like a geography statement and it is, but it’s also much more than that. People from “Nazareth” and “Galilee” were looked down upon. Among the religious leaders of that time anyone from there were seen as uneducated, a country-bumpkin, and not significant. For various reasons they were held in contempt.
Let me show you something. There was this guy named Philipp who had a friend named Nathanael. Philipp told Nathanael about Jesus and commented that Jesus was “from Nazareth.” In John 1 we are given Nathanael’s response where he says, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46, NLT). God can do anything with anyone from anywhere. One of the things that God is showing us through Jesus is that you don’t have to come from the right side of town, or come from the right family, or have the right kind of background. God often uses people from obscure places. You may feel like you were raised on the wrong side of the tracks, you may feel like you are not smart enough, talented enough, good enough. The devil may be whispering in your ear that nothing good comes out of Mexico, nothing good comes out of Centralia, nothing good comes from your family, nothing good will come from you. I’m here to tell you that God can take an obscure person, from an obscure place, from a broken family and do something incredible. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Absolutely! Can anything good come from Mexico? Absolutely! Can anything good come from your family? Absolutely! Can anything good from you? Absolutely!
Mark goes on to say, One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. John’s baptism was about repenting of sins and turning to God, but here comes Jesus wanting to be baptized. When Matthew tells us about this event he gives us a little more insight. Matthew says, Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” 15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him (Matthew 3:13-15, NLT). To understand this, there are two things you need to know about Jesus.
- First, Jesus is sinless. God’s Word states this over and over because it’s very important. Peter said, “He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone” (1 Peter 2:22, NLT). Hebrews 4:15 says, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15, NLT). John said, “And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him” (1 John 3:5, NLT). So, if Jesus never sinned then what is Jesus repenting of when He is being baptized? Absolutely nothing. He wasn’t repenting, He was doing something different.
- Second, Jesus is identifying with us. Remember, we are answering the question, “Why was Jesus baptized?” That is a good question. In fact, Matthew says John asked it: “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” Because Jesus was sinless, he needed no baptism of repentance. But in his baptism he associated himself with us sinners and placed himself among the guilty – not for his own salvation but for ours – not for his guilt but for ours – not because he feared the wrath to come, but to save us from it. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (NLT). When Jesus was baptized He was identifying with us so that He could represent us on the cross.
As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.
So, John baptizes Jesus. Mark then says, As Jesus came up out of the water – So Jesus went into the water where John was and Jesus allowed John to baptize Him to fulfill all righteousness and to identify with us. When Jesus was baptized He was immersed into the water, that’s what the word baptism means. This is a picture of commitment and surrender. When Jesus was baptized he was saying to us He was completely committed to this mission. He was all in.
When a believer is baptized one of the things they are saying is I am all in with Jesus. When you are immersed in the water your whole body goes under and it is a demonstration that your whole life is now about Jesus. He saved you. He set you free. He forgave you. He is now the very air you breathe. He is your living water, rose of Sharon, He is your eternal life, abundant life, your alpha and omega, your beginning and your end, you are now consumed by Him, live for Him, and if necessary will die for Him. He is now your Lord and King! Baptism is a picture of you being completely immersed into the life of Jesus.
So, “Jesus came up out of the water” completely dedicated to demonstrating the love of His Father for people like you and me. When Jesus came up out of the water, Mark tells us that Jesus “saw the heavens splitting apart.” In the Bible, when the heavens open it is usually a sign that God is about to speak or do something so that we can get a glimpse at His purposes.
Mark could have used a word that means to “open” (anoigo). Instead, he describes that the heavens are “splitting apart” or torn apart (schizo). It has the idea of someone ripping a package to let what’s in out or someone splitting a door apart in order to get out. What Mark is telling us is that at the baptism of Jesus, the official beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, all of heaven breaks loose for this event and what’s about to occur.
It is a sign that God is about to do something tremendous! God is about to do something whether we like it or not. In Isaiah 64:1, Isaiah prayed, “If only you would tear the heavens open and come down…” (CSB). That prayer is fully answered on that day.
Mark then tells us that Jesus saw the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. Mark describes the descent of the Holy Spirit as “like a dove.” He didn’t say it was “a dove,” but it was “like a dove.” The Holy Spirit didn’t show up like an eagle or falcon swooping down, but with a slow and gentle and peaceful descent upon Jesus. Often times God’s Spirit shows up in our lives like a dove, gently revealing His presence to bring peace and hope.
There is something else going on here with this “like a dove.” There was not a moment during the life of Jesus that He was not filled with the Spirit. But at His baptism, the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus. It was Jesus’ ordination for ministry. The promised Messiah would be marked by the presence of the Spirit of God. In Acts 10:37, Peter said, You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. 38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him (NLT).
When the early believers read this, especially those familiar with the Old Testament, a couple of thoughts would come to their mind.
- The imagery of the dove descending upon Jesus would bring to mind Genesis 1:1 where we are told, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering [brooding] over the surface of the waters (NLT). Don’t think of a helicopter hovering over the waters, but a bird. The Holy Spirit was hovering and brooding over the chaos and darkness and was about to bring order and purpose and meaning to the creation. In the same way, the Holy Spirit descended over Jesus to let us know there is a new creation coming over the darkness and chaos in the lives of people and the world and this new creation is going to occur through Jesus Christ.
- The imagery of the dove descending upon Jesus would also bring to mind Noah’s dove. Following the Flood during Noah’s time, Noah sent out a dove. The first time, the dove returned to him. On the second occasion, the dove returned with a freshly-plucked olive leaf in its mouth: Genesis 8:11 says, “This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone” (NLT). The third time Noah sent out a dove, it did not return, revealing the dove had found a new home on the land of the earth. The dove became a symbol of God’s peace following judgment. In Jesus we would see both a time of judgment for our sin on the cross and eternal peace in our new home, called heaven.
The Holy Spirit descending on Jesus “like a dove” was a sign of His anointing by God the Father and reminds us that Jesus would be about bringing hope, peace, and a new creation that only God can do in you and me.
And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
Mark goes on to say, And a voice from heaven said…. Listen carefully, there is a voice from heaven that talks to you every day if you will listen. That voice from heaven talks through the Word of God. The Word of God is the voice of God. You can trust it. You rely on it. You may not like everything it says or understand it all, but it is trustworthy. It is divine. It is inspired by God and is useful for every area of your life. When God speaks, it is always significant.
And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son. God the Father referred to Jesus as “my Son.” In the Bible, the phrase “son of God” when applied to Jesus always means Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is God’s unique Son. Jesus did not become the Son of God at His baptism or at the transfiguration; He is the Son of God, the unique Son of God who is God in the flesh to deliver God’s people from their sins and to demonstrate God’s power here on earth among God’s people. This sets the stage for everything that is to follow in the gospel of Mark.
God the Father described Jesus as His “dearly loved” Son. We often talk about God’s love for us. We do not talk enough about God’s love for Jesus. But it is the love of God for Jesus that makes His love for us possible. Listen carefully to Ephesians 1:6, “Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son” (TLB).
God the Father ended by telling Jesus, “You bring me great joy.” Some translations say, “and with you I am well pleased.” It is one thing to have John the Baptist affirm the sinlessness of Christ. It is another to have God the Father declare it. But the unseen voice from heaven summarizes everything we need to know. The unseen voice had been the unseen Listener to every conversation; the unseen Guest at every meal; the unseen Witness to every act, and the unseen Recorder of every thought, imagination, and desire. That unseen Voice declared to Jesus, “You bring me great joy.”
One day Jesus identified Himself with people like you and me.
One day Jesus healed a blind man.
One day Jesus walked on water.
One day Jesus calmed a storm.
One day Jesus delivered a man from a demon.
One day Jesus made the lame to walk.
One day Jesus was nailed to a cross for our sins.
One day He was buried in a tomb.
One day He arose from the grave.
And one day He is going to return.
All of heaven burst open to see these events. Are you ready?