Good morning Gathering! Can I just say this, before we jump into our text this morning: isn’t it a gift to gather like this? Just think about it for a moment. The fact that we can come together as the people of God, as family, from across the world, and we can sing together, and lift Jesus’ name together, and be shaped by God’s Word TOGETHER is such an incredible privilege.
Every time we get to gather like this as family (every time we get to be with you) my heart is full with the Joy of The Lord. And, I always feel compelled to point that out because I never want to take that for granted. God is extravagant in His provision for His people and we get to experience the fruit of that this morning.
If you have a Bible, I’d encourage you to grab that and turn to The Gospel of Mark. Our text this morning will be Mark 1:9-15. As you’re turning there in your Bibles, I’ll pray for our time together in God’s word.
Last weekend all of our churches (all 3 of which are represented in this room right now, which is amazing) we all kicked off a series in The Gospel of Mark that will take us on a long and beautiful journey.
The more I’ve read, and studied, and prayed through Mark, the more strongly I believe that this study is going to be an incredible gift to our body of churches. And I believe that for several different reasons. One of the primary reasons is because The Gospel of Mark gives us such a unique perspective on Jesus.
It’s a defining characteristic of Mark’s gospel to highlight Jesus as the fulfillment of things promised in the Old Testament. Which is really important for us because it allows us to more clearly understand that the whole of Scripture is about Jesus. Which is an important thing to know, isn’t it?
That the entire Bible is one perfect, seamless story of God’s redemptive work throughout history. And that redemptive work centers on the person of Jesus Christ.
This is why we must read the entire Bible christocentrically (with the gospel as the focal point). Now just the New Testament, but the Old Testament as well. Because the Old Testament is the history of God building the longing the anticipation of the coming Christ.
Think about this: When you read the Old Testament, starting with the account of the fall in the garden (sin entering the picture separating us from God). And you move through how God formed a people through Abraham, and their 400 year captivity in Egypt. And you move through the freedom that God secured for them in the Exodus, and then through the 40 years of wandering in the desert, up until they take possession of the Promised Land.
And then you read about the cycle that kept repeating through all of the judges the constant pattern of rebellion & return to the Lord. Through the kings and all of the prophets. Woven throughout the giving of the law and the sacrificial system that God established for His people.
When you look at all of it, it was all intended by God to build anticipation of the coming Christ. It was all intended to build anticipation and hope that God would do something that PERMANENTLY dealt with the problem of sin & separation from Him. It was intended to create the hope of redemption and to set the stage for permanence through Christ.
That’s why I say that everything that God gave His people in the Old Testament was meant to be temporary from the judges, to the sacrificial system, to the temple, to kings, to the Promised land it was all just pointing to and preparing God’s people for what He would do, permanently, in Jesus Christ.
That’s why, as we sit here today, under the New Covenant, we don’t need the type of judges in the Old Testament, Christ will judge the living & the dead. There’s no need to offer sacrifices for sin Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for all sin. We don’t worship in Temples we are temples of the Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done.
He is our prophet, priest and king. And, we certainly aren’t tied to a piece of real estate, our promised land is in Heaven with Him that’s where our citizenship lies.
This is one of the things that excites me most about this study in Mark. It will help us practice seeing Jesus as the point of all of Scripture. So, that’s the journey that we began last weekend. And, because this is a continuation of that discussion, I took some time to review Jinson’s message last weekend.
I have to say that my soul just came alive hearing the themes that Jinson highlighted from last weekend’s text (Read). What he talked about gets to the very heart of what it looks like to walk in the newness of life that Christ has purchased for us.
He talked about REPENTANCE & HUMBLE SUBMISSION. We have this picture that Mark paints, in the opening verses, of John the Baptist as he comes to prepare the way for Christ. He’s preaching a message of repentance, and he’s preaching that message out of humble submission.
In other words, John’s posture and his message both come from a place of understanding that he was created, and that he was preparing the way for the Creator. That he wasn’t even fit to untie Jesus’ shoes. That the aim of his life was to point to the excellencies of Jesus Christ.
In one of the other gospels John the Baptist is recording as saying, “this joy of mine is now complete. Jesus must increase, but I must decrease.” That’s it, you see? It’s the message of repentance, being proclaimed by a man who is displaying humble submission to God. And, here’s what I think is just beautiful, as I look at the flow of this 1st chapter.
The things that we see highlighted in John’s life and message are the same things that Jesus puts on display with his life and message. And, He does it in a way that beckons these things from our lives as well.
And so, that’s where I want to end our discussion this morning. I want to come back full circle to these themes of repentance and humble submission. That we all might be reminded this morning that these are things that will be displayed in the life of every believer in increasing measure.
We’ll get to all of that in a few minutes. But first, let’s read our text together.
READ MARK 1:9-15.
This is fascinating! There are 3 major events described in these 7 short verses. Instead of devoting a lot of time and detail to each one of these events, like the other gospels might do, Mark just bullet points them.
Which is interesting because this is something that Mark does strategically in his writing. He’s not concerned with giving us a historical timeline or an abundance of facts. Mark is more concerned that his readers understand who Jesus actually is. That they would understand His character & His message.
So, instead of distracting you with details & timelines, Mark lists these 3 events in a way that causes us to interpret each of them through the lens of the others.
That’s beautiful because it pushes us, urgently, into an understanding that the Kingdom is at hand, that the time is now, that all of this anticipation and longing that has been building for God to make things new is finally here!
And so he gives us these things very quickly:
- Jesus’ baptism
- Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness
- The beginning of His ministry.
He doesn’t want us to be overly concerned with the history or the details of these events. He wants us to understand what these things tell us about the character and the message of Jesus Christ.
So, in light of that, here’s how I’d like to structure our time this morning. I want to look at these events and show you what stands out to me as I’ve studied them. And, as we discuss this, I want you to listen for these same themes REPENTANCE & HUMBLE SUBMISSION.
And then, at the end, I want to bring us back to a discussion about what this looks like for our lives. How are we called to live in light of who Jesus Is and what He has done.
So, look again at verses 9 – 11: “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
So, right off the bat, we have a very clear and beautiful expression of the Doctrine of the Trinity right here. don’t we? The fact that God is 3 distinct persons, AND YET, 1 God. We see that clearly on display in this text.
You have Jesus the Son of God standing in the Jordan River with John the Baptist. And, as He comes up out of the water, The Spirit descends upon Him and The Father speaks “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
It’s about as clear a picture of The Trinity as you’re going to get in Scripture. And, actually, that brings my mind to a really important point that must be stated explicitly every chance we get. JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD.
He is the un-created one. He is the One through whom everything was created. He is God with the Father & Holy Spirit into eternity past and into eternity future. He is currently upholding the Universe by the word of His power.
And Jesus Christ is the Only Name by which man can be saved. Because, it was His sacrifice taking our place, paying the price for our sin that allows us to be reconciled to God. And, it’s only by submitting your life to Him through faith that you enter into that new life.
Jesus is God! Which brings us to an interesting question. If Jesus is God, WHY DID HE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED? I think there are several answers to that question. Let me give you a couple of the most important ones. Jesus is sinless, so there’s no need for any repentance. But, we have to remember the work that Jesus came to do AS OUR SUBSTITUTE.
I believe that this event is pointing to what Jesus would do to take our sin upon Himself as our substitute. We often say that Jesus was the better Moses, the better Abraham, the better Jonah, etc. The truth is that He’s the better everything.
Paul details in Romans 5 how Jesus is the better Adam. He came to fulfill what Adam could not. He came to remedy the problem of sin that was ushered in through Adam’s disobedience. And, Jesus accomplished that through His own obedience.
Submitting Himself to baptism is a part of that. It’s also the way (culturally) that Jesus would put His stamp of approval on the message that John the Baptist was preaching. We don’t have a lot of time to get into this but baptism finds it’s root in the ceremonial washing / cleansing that people would perform when they were becoming Jewish.
They were essentially saying that I associate my life with this teaching. That’s what Jesus is doing here. He’s associating Himself with John’s message the message that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
An incredible thing happens as a part of Jesus’ baptism. Mark says that the heavens are “torn open”. This would be incredible in & of itself, but it gets even more beautiful when you realize that Isaiah talked about this happening.
In Isaiah 64, the prophet talks about the heavens being rent open or torn apart and God descending. Here’s what it says exactly “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down.”
Mark 1 is a picture of the fulfillment of that prophecy. God tears the heavens open and comes down in His Spirit. But, where it gets even more beautiful is when you look to the end of Jesus’ life on earth.
This Greek phrase for “being torn open” is only used 1 other time in Mark’s Gospel and it’s near the end of the book in Mark chapter 15. It’s the picture that Mark paints of Jesus hanging on the Cross. He has been falsely accused, falsely tried, lied about, mocked, brutally beaten and whipped, and now He’s hanging on the Cross (and it’s all happening in our place).
And, as He dies, it says that “Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” (Verse 37)
Get this: you have the heavens being torn open and the Spirit of God descending to rest upon Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry. And, you have the curtain (the thing that was symbolic of the separation between God & man caused by sin) torn in 2 as Jesus takes our sin with Him into the grave. And, it’s all what God promised to do from the beginning. ONE SEAMLESS STORY of redemption through Jesus Christ. How amazing is our God?
Look again at verses 12 & 13.“The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.”
There are a couple of things here. First, the language that Mark uses fascinates me. Jesus was “driven out by the Spirit.” This brings my mind back to the topic of SUBMISSION.
Jesus had submitted Himself to the Will of the Father and the leading of The Holy Spirit. He chose to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit. I love how Paul frames this dynamic in Philippians chapter 2.
He says that, “Jesus though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” That’s the same idea that Jesus declares in Mark 10:45 “I did not come to be served but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
If anyone should have been served, it’s Jesus. If anyone should have been exalted, it’s Jesus. If anyone deserved to be worshiped, it’s Jesus. And yet, to buy us back from Sin & Death, He emptied Himself, He became a servant, and He died in our place.
There it is, you see? HUMBLE SUBMISSION.
The second thing I would point to here is to highlight something I’ve already said. Jesus is the better Adam. Where Adam failed, where we fail, Jesus succeeds. Jesus was tempted, as we are tempted, and yet He is without Sin.
That’s amazing news! It’s amazing because Jesus knows what it’s like to face temptation. This is the beauty of Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Jesus is the better Adam. He is the One that the pleasures of the Father rest on. He is the One who overcame temptation in the wilderness. Every area where Adam failed, Jesus succeeds. Every area where we fail, Jesus succeeds. And now He is able to sympathize with us as He intercedes for us.
Finally, look again at verses 14-15. This is where we’ll bring everything back together to the implications for our lives. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Here’s what I would point us to as we wrap this up: The humble submission of Jesus Christ. In taking on the form of His creation, in experiencing temptation and pain, in taking our place and dying the death we deserved to die, it was His humble submission that made a way for our repentance.
This is the message of the gospel! That where we were separated from God, where we were under condemnation and wrath, where we were spiritually dead, Christ has made a way for us to be made alive. And, not just for us to be made alive, but for us to be adopted into the family of God.
Think about it like this: When you & I repent and believe the gospel, we get to hear the same thing that Jesus heard as He came out of the water “You are my Son, with you I am well pleased.” “You are my daughter, with you I am well pleased.”
When we repent & believe the gospel, we receive the affirmation of the Father and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We receive the same things that Jesus received at His baptism. That is amazing!