Jesus Baptism


While reading through “Sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus” by Spangler and Tverberg this week I was brought back to Jesus baptism.  I love the telling of this event but honestly hadn’t realized the “stringing of pearls” going on here from the voice of God in His declaration about Jesus.  I chose to take a deeper look at the surrounding verses as well to discover more about this portion of scripture. 

  “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.  As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven:  You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!  Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan.” Mark 1:9-13 HCSB

1.  I’ve been teaching through Acts recently and when studying Pentecost came back to this passage because of the similarity in which the Spirit was poured out.  Here the spirit descended like a dove, in acts it descended like tongues of fire resting over their heads.  It’s interesting in both places the Spirit manifests itself in visible form as it descends upon those who’s ministry was being inaugurated. 

2.  Another point here in Mark is the fact he gives you the visual of the heavens being torn open as the spirit descends.  This evokes the event of the curtain of the temple being torn from top to bottom at Christ death symbolizing our being given access to God.  That also leads to reasoning for the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Spirit because it then symbolizes that which used to dwell in the temple now being poured out on the apostles to inaugurate their ministry and the beginning of the church. 

3.  As they pointed out in the book God’s declaration of Jesus here God links up the Torah (Genesis 22), the Prophets (Isaiah 42), and the Psalms (Psalm 2).  Just as Jesus would later say in the sermon on the mount he did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, God from His inauguration has declared that this is who all of scripture points to. 

4. “You are My Son” in Psalm 2:7 it says: “I will declare the Lord’s decree: He said to Me, You are My Son, today I have become Your Father.” Here God affirms the deity of Jesus, and declares Him the Son of God. 

5. “Whom I love” (beloved) Genesis 22:2 “Take your son, “He said, “Your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” This account in Genesis is a type of Christ.  Abraham was asked to sacrifice his one son, the son of the promise through which God would give him a people, land, and blessing.  In obedience and faith he was willing to sacrifice this son of promise, but then God provided another sacrifice in his stead.  The antitype being Jesus, here God is declaring this is My Son, the Son of the promise.  Just as God provided a sacrifice in the place of Abraham’s son, Jesus was that which God provided in our place. 

6.  “With you I am well pleased”  Isaiah 42: “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.  I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.”  God’s placing the Spirit upon Jesus here inaugurates His ministry, gives Him power to do miracles and fulfills prophecy both of His empowerment and in His bringing justice.  The justice he provided wasn’t that which they expected.  This Son of the promise brought justice to the nations by making atonement for sins, thus He made a propitiation for us, that is he didn’t merely forgive us our sins but He took on the debt for himself while giving us His position.  In order to give mercy He had to bring justice. 

7.  Immediately after receiving God’s blessing and the power of the Spirit He faced opposition.  In Matthew 3 we see that not only did the Devil tempt Him but his first attack is on His very identity.  “If you are the Son of God..”  He tried to create doubt about His identity and doubt God’s words just as he did in the garden with Eve in Gen 3. 

  Previously I have applied this text to the identity Jesus provided me through His atoning work on the cross in my stead.  That is just as God here had affirmed Jesus sonship, and love for Him before Jesus had done anything, this happened before He performed any miracles or started His ministry, He also has loved me in saving me not based on my works but His electing love.  Then just as the Devil attacked His identity first and God’s goodness as he did with Eve, I know to be on the look out for him to attack me in the same way.  Through guilt and shame the Devil causes us to doubt our identity as God’s children, and through the world he tempts us to that which God has told us is not good for us.  He tries to make us doubt God’s goodness by making sin look appealing and God look like a kill joy.  Now I would add to that application God’s goodness in revealing in scripture at great debts that all of scripture works together to tell His story of His love for us and how redemptive history has played out from the beginning and still plays out today through the work of Christ.  God was intentional about providing proof and strong evidence along the way so that after we knew Him we could be certain of our faith, and to be a reminder to us in times when we doubt. 

Lord God thank you for loving me.  Thank you for saving me from the domain of darkness and bringing me into the light joining your family that you are building here on earth.  Thank you for including me in your redemptive story and for the opportunity to share your good news with others.  Please empower me to ignore the lies of Satan when he tries to get me to doubt your goodness, and love for me, and empower me to continue to thirst for your word and hide it in my heart to use against these attacks.  In your Holy name Lord Jesus Amen!