Used by God for Service
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
This passage covers the transition of Jesus from private life to public ministry. And it is managed through baptism. Baptism ends up being the sign of this personal transition for all of us. We are meant to see that we go from living for our natural pursuits to living for God’s designed plans and purposes for us!
- Baptism and Beginnings
- An historical perspective
The act of circumcision has parallels to baptism. (Colossians 2:11:12) The putting off of the flesh. What this means is that we are learning that there is life in the spirit that is revealed to us by God in His Word. Male children were circumcised as an example of a commitment to follow God’s Law and live a different life. Baptism has the same connotation, but adds in the coming of the Holy Spirit. So, obedience is inside out, not outside in. The soul is renewed, saved, by the indwelling Holy Spirit as we yield to the Spirit’s leading in our lives. Every person who is a follower of Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit in them, or else they do not belong to Christ.
Unless you believe that everything that you do all of the time is perfectly lined up with God’s Word, you should expect that God would convict you by the Holy Spirit of attitudes and actions that are selfish and toxic to following Jesus.
Ceremonial washings in the temple made things either clean or holy for use. Holy for use does not mean without sin, but literally set aside for a particular purpose. Baptism has these components attached as well! Holy for use= created for good works that God has prepared beforehand…
- The passing through the red sea:
You are leaving your old life behind. Your old life will chase you down. Drug and alcohol abuse. Sexual desire and misbehavior. Working too hard at the expense of your family. Spending too much time on hobbies or entertainment. The things that people are attached to that they feed on for their life will follow them like a stray dog that won’t go away.
The Egyptian army follows the Children of Israel to force them to go back. God kills the Egyptian army. He will not allow an outside force to force you to go back to old habits. But He will also not keep you from dealing with your fears and strong desires. You will be forced to trust Him in the face of serious issues!
- God allowing hardship in the lives of His people will draw out of our own hearts the latent desire to go back. The Children of Israel in the Wilderness rise up in rebellion, claiming that life as slaves in Egypt is better than following God. The biggest problem is not the Egyptian army, they were easy to kill. The biggest problem is getting people to follow God in a sinful world.
- Jesus’ New Beginning
- He has been forced to wait
Many great men in Scripture are forced by God to learn to wait on His timing. Abraham, Moses and David are three examples.
Jesus and David have parallels in their lives.
David has great victories as a young man. David is anointed to be king as a young man. David is forced to wait for his kingship to arrive while the current king who is mentally ill and demonically influenced seeks to kill him. He literally runs for His life.
Jesus spends most of His life away from Jerusalem until it is time for Him to die. He is studiously avoiding people who are trying to kill Him. He is the anointed Messiah of God. He must submit to God’s plans and purposes for His life or else there will be big trouble. How does God train people to be humble and submit to His plans and purposes? He doesn’t let stuff work the way we think it should. When do these lessons end? That’s a good question. I think they end when we stop focusing on circumstances and we have our attention fully absorbed by obedience to God.
Jesus comes to John to be baptized so he can be anointed by the Holy Spirit for this ministry.
John recognizes Who Jesus is.
The voice and the Holy Spirit (This is a Trinitarian revelation!) are confirmations of God’s commitment to Jesus. Jesus is God’s plan and will. The waiting might make this hard to accept
- He is tempted in every way
Jesus goes from this great confirming experience that God is at work in His life, to a journey into the wilderness.
The wilderness experience is very important!! It is consistent.
John has lived here. There must be life here!
The Children of Israel experience the miracles of the plagues and Passover. They experience their baptism in the Red Sea as the Egyptian army is destroyed and they are delivered. God is for them!!!
But God does not take them straight to the Promised Land. It’s about 300 miles worth of a journey. Five miles a day is two months! They take two years!! And then they refuse to trust God to take them in. So, they will wander for thirty eight more years! What is going on for those two years? God is working on them. Just as He works on us. And just as He works on Jesus.
- Forty days of testing
The numbers are not coincidental. The tests are not mentioned here in Mark. They are fleshed out in Matthew 4.
What does Mark tell us?
- He was tempted by Satan: This is like a summary.
- He was with the wild animals: This is metaphorical language for danger, chaos, isolation and difficulty.
- He was supported by God and His agents of grace and mercy
Parallels to the Garden of Gethsemane:
Luke 22: 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Satan tells Jesus to turn stones to bread. Jesus says He will trust God for His bread. It’s not time to eat yet.
Satan tells Jesus to throw Himself down and God will protect Him. It’s like he is saying you should create your own issue that will allow you to see how God is going to work. Provoke God into action. This makes God our servant instead of the reverse.
Satan tells Jesus that if He will bow down and serve Him that He will be given all of the kingdoms of the world. It’s a tangible offer. What is the end result of Jesus’ life of service and sacrifice?
The end result is that Jesus takes this all from Satan BECAUSE of His obedience to God!
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Revelation 5: 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Ok, so baptism is a sign of a new beginning, Jesus here is beginning His ministry, finally, I want to indicate that Jesus is not just starting from scratch in terms of God’s plan for His world!
III. Jesus Joins a Plan in Progress
What are the signs that Jesus is joining a plan in progress?
- John and Jesus share the same message
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!
God has a plan for what is going on. We discover the plan and we participate in it.
What is God’s plan for Jesus?
What is God’s plan for us?
- Jesus fulfills the Old Covenant
He is the Passover Lamb
He is the prophet like Moses
He is the rock that gives water
He is the snake on the pole that gives life to all that look to Him
He is manna
He is Abraham’s ram (John 8 Abraham saw my day…)
And on and on and on!
- Jesus fulfills God’s eternal plan
He is the second Adam!
Ephesians 1: 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Romans 5: 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
I Corinthians 15: 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.