Beginning the Ministry

Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:31
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Remain standing as we read from Mark 1:9-15
I have not fully understood these verses for much of my life. I spent a good deal of time yesterday doing additional reading and research. At face value it seems pretty straightforward, but I think there is more behind the text and I want to attempt to draw it out this morning.
Lets look at the 3 separate events recorded:


John was baptizing for repentance.
Jesus’ baptism was different than the others.
His baptism was as N.T. Wright says, “a getting ready for the kingdom” baptism.
I’ve heard and most likely said:
It’s an example to us.
Baptism that represents the beginning of ministry.
I think there’s more. Consider some O.T. Imagery.
Jews knew the story:

God rescued the Israelites when he brought them through the waters of the Red Sea.

They passed through the water to freedom.
Later on, Joshua would take them through the waters of the Jordan River to inhabit the Promised Land.

Genesis 1 Imagery

Spirit of God is hovering over the face of the waters. Spirit is like a dove brooding.
Separates the waters from the waters and the waters from the land.
Land passes through the water.
When Jesus comes up from the water, the Spirit descends like a dove and the voice of God speaks to him, “You are my beloved son, in you I am very pleased.”

Jesus submits to baptism for our benefit.

Act of obedience to God’s plan and John’s role.
An act of self-identification with Israel. He identifies with those he comes to rescue.
An act of self-dedication to His mission.
His baptism is representative of his death and resurrection and our new life.
Paul addresses this in Romans 6:3-4.
Through Christ, we pass from death to life.


We know that Jesus was tempted but look again at the O.T. Imagery present.
Before Moses received the Law, he fasted for 40 days and nights.
Elijah went without food and water for 40 days.
Goliath opposing Israel for 40 days.
The Israelites were in the dessert wilderness for 40 years for their disobedience.
Contrast that with Christ who was in the wilderness being tempted in every way yet without sin and perfectly obedient to the Father.
Note the temptations:

Command the stones to become bread.

We read in Exodus about the provision of manna in the wilderness.
Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”
Later he would say, “My food is to do the will of he who sent me.”

Throw yourself down.

Jesus replied, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”
There are echos here to Ex 17 where the people have no water and complain to Moses. Moses asks them, “Why do you test the Lord?”

Worship me.

“Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
Remember the calf of gold.

Kingdom of God

Perhaps the most confusing of all.
We must attempt to understand Kingdom of God from the perspective of the 1st Century Jew.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this today, we will dig into it more on Wednesday nights in the coming weeks. But I want to address how a few things.

Kingdom is at hand.

This is not future language, it is right now language.
God is enacting his kingdom, a kingdom not confined to Israel but encompasses the whole world. A kingdom that will never end.
Remember Daniel 2...
Daniel 2:44 ESV
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
The kingdom is a right now/not yet reality.
What is the necessary response?

Repent and believe

BKC - to repent is to turn away from an existing object of trust. To believe is to commit oneself wholeheartedly to an object of faith.
This call to repentance wasn’t a personal “confess your sins” personally, but the confession of a nation who had turned away from God to confess their sins nationally and believe in the one whom he had sent - the son.
The kingdom is at hand, right now.
Repent and come out of exile. Stop your rebellion and turn to him. Believe not in self, national identity, or religion. Turn your heart wholeheartedly to God and love and serve him alone.

It has always been about a relationship.

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