Date: January 17th
Speaker: Travis Cunningham
Text: Mark 1:9-11 (NASB) 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came from the heavens: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
Jesus steps onto the scene in a way that would have went unnoticed. He came from Nazareth in Galilee without a parade or entourage with Him. Humbly He enters into the narrative. Then to make it even more head scratching, He is baptized by a man that has been baptizing and preaching repentance to groups of sinners! The difference between the men who came to John and Jesus is revealed when the heavens open, the Spirit descends and the Father speaks. This is no ordinary man, but He is, as John declares: 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!'
Big Idea: The ministry of Jesus begins with Him stepping into history during a time of political and national unrest. The nation of Israel was filled with infighting between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the Romans were ruling over Israel. It was during this time that Jesus decides to step into the narrative.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t come onto the scene of history like a royal prince or king at the time with a large parade and music announcing His coming. It simply says: ‘In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee.’ He came from a place that is spoken of by Nathaniel in John 1:46 when he asks: “Can any good thing come from Nazareth?” So the Messiah and Savior of the world came humbly onto the scene from a place that others regarded as worthless.
The baptism of Jesus is a very significant event that takes place before Jesus ever begins His preaching or supernatural ministry. It is the first time that we see all three members of the Trinity on display with the Spirit as a dove resting and remaining on Jesus. We read last week about the words of John the Baptist when he said in verse 8: “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Then we immediately see the Holy Spirit come onto the scene of history with His focus solely on the Baptizer of the Holy Spirit- Jesus.
Why was Jesus baptized by John who’s baptism was a baptism of repentance? Why was He baptized in the same manner, by the same man and in the same waters of other sinful humans? According to Matthew 3:15 the act of Jesus’ baptism was to fulfill all righteousness. It was a picture of Jesus taking on the sin of men and in turn imputing (applying to our account) the righteousness of God.
Big Idea: The ministry of Jesus begins with His baptism at the hands of John the Baptist. Notice that Jesus doesn’t come onto the scene of history like a royal prince or king at the time with a large parade and music announcing His coming. It simply says: ‘In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee.’ He came from a place that is spoken of by Nathaniel in John 1:46 when he asks: “Can any good thing come from Nazareth?” So the Messiah of the world came humbly onto the scene from a place that others regarded as worthless. The baptism of Jesus is a very significant event that takes place before Jesus ever begins His preaching or supernatural ministry. It is the first time that we see all three members of the Trinity on display with the Spirit as a dove resting and remaining on Jesus. This is significant for us because it shows us that if Jesus began with the Spirit and walked with the Spirit as He went out to fulfill the ministry God gave Him, then we also need the Spirit of God to be on us and to remain with us wherever we go. Why was Jesus baptized by John who’s baptism was a baptism of repentance? Why was He baptized in the same manner, by the same man and in the same waters of other sinful humans? According to Matthew 3:15 the act of Jesus’ baptism was to fulfill all righteousness. It was a picture of Jesus taking on the sin of men and in turn imputing (applying to our account) His righteousness.
Cross References: Matthew 3:13-17 (NASB) Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22 (NASB) Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
John 1:24-28 (NASB) Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Isaiah 9:1 (NASB) But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
Theology/Apologetics: Jews at the time of Christ and even Jewish people today believed that the Messiah was supposed to be an earthly king that was to dismantle and destroy the enemies of God’s people. This understanding came from an established religious system that set itself up as the beacon and source of truth. From the close of the Old Testament with the book of Malachi to the time of Jesus and John the Baptist was a span of around 400 years. During this 400 years there were no prophets and the Lord was not speaking to His people as in times past. These years are referred to as the ‘Silent Years’. Because the word of the Lord was no longer prevalent with God’s people; two important and influential groups of political/religious groups emerged in Israel. The Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees was a group of Jewish leaders, rabbis and lawyers that added to the law of Moses through oral tradition. The Sadducees represented the aristocrats and the wealthy and they rejected all but the Mosaic books of the Old Testament as well as bodily resurrection. So when Jesus comes onto the scene there is a foundation of tradition and elitism in place by these religious leaders. The Pharisees and Sadducees had a large influence and sway over the people of Israel and were considered experts in the ways and laws of God in the eyes of the people. This is why there was constant tension between Jesus and His disciples and the religious rulers in the first century. So, when the Pharisees who had established what the ministry and life of the Messiah was supposed to look like see Jesus and His disciples, they are confused and begin to see their influence diminish amongst the people. This is the power of religion that keeps people from God. This is the same power that is at work today in this world.
One of the objections to Jesus being the Messiah that people bring up is the fact that Jesus was baptized by John. Would the Son of God, the Messiah, the King of all the earth be baptized by a man who was conducting a baptism of repentance? What would that baptism accomplish if He is the spotless Lamb of God without the need of repentance? When Jesus comes to John to be baptized, John has the same questions in his heart. John tells Jesus in Matthew 3:14 - “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” Jesus responds by saying in verse 15- “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus understands the confusion in the heart of John and tells him to 'permit it at this time'. What Jesus tells John is this is a one time event that is going to have extraordinary benefits. Jesus tells John: 'for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Who's standard of righteousness is this act of baptism fulfilling? How can one event of Jesus being baptized fulfill all righteousness? To understand this we need to look at the other prophecies concerning the Messiah like Isaiah 53. Firstly, verse 2 of Isaiah 53 describes the Suffering Servant as having "no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him." This is exactly what happens when Jesus come onto the scene. No recognition, no majesty, just another man in the eyes of the people coming to John to be baptized. But verse 12 says "He was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors." We know that this was also fulfilled at the death of Christ in Mark 15:28. But what Jesus is doing here at His baptism is He is prophetically showing the purpose of why He came. He came to save sinners by offering them the righteousness of God. He is counted as being with a group of people that are repenting from sin, even though He had no sin. He is getting into the same waters where sin has been symbolically washed away from the transgressors thus taking on their sins onto Himself. He goes down into the water signifying His death. He rises up out of the water signifying His victory. But what happens next displays that He is no mere man like the rest. The heavens are opened, the Spirit falls, the Father speaks all signifying His glory and majesty. Men did not esteem Him, but the Father of all creation did. The baptism of Jesus is significant because it is the first of many times that we see 2 Corinthians 5:21 on full display. "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
Teaching Team at BC: