Mark: S1 E2 - Inauguration Day
Resource: Lead Pastor Justin Dosch
Topic: Jesus' Baptism
One of the reasons we’re so passionate about telling people about Jesus is that we really believe Jesus changes EVERYTHING. Not only does Jesus promise us the hope of eternal life in heaven, which is an amazing promise, but he also brings new life and purpose to our here and now. In every possible way He makes our life better (and to be clear “better” doesn’t mean no problems and no suffering). Not only that, but he makes us better at life! When we trust in Jesus for our salvation and are obedient to his ways it is amazing how he transforms every part of us. Yet what’s heartbreaking to me is the stunning amount of people who reject Him. In spite of the amazing news of the gospel so many people still choose to go their own way and disregard the amazing gift Jesus offers.
Well, we’re on a mission to change that. Last week we started a study of Jesus’ life that we’re simply calling. “Mark: Season 1.” We’re working through the gospel of Mark verse by verse and discovering just what makes Jesus’s life and mission so amazing. Why? Because we are convinced if we really knew Jesus it WOULD change EVERYTHING.
This week we’re picking up where we left off in Mark 1:9. To recap, John the Baptist has been preparing the people for Jesus’ arrival. Baptizing people in Jesus’ name and calling them to repentance, waiting for Jesus to show up and officially kick off his mission! And that’s where we pick up this week with an event that would set the tone for Jesus’ entire ministry. Let’s dive in;
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” - Mark 1:9. Let’s just stop there for a second because before we get to the baptism it’s essential we understand WHERE Jesus came from.
It says Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee. The region of Galilee was located in the far north of Israel around the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth, the town that Jesus grew up in, was a blip on the radar. Not only that, but it was heavily populated by gentiles and looked down on by the majority Jews and their religious leaders because they were seen as outsiders.
For the messiah to come from a place like Nazareth would have been unthinkable to many. How could the messiah come from a place where there were so many “sinners.” The truth is this would become a major theme in the life of Jesus. In almost every conceivable way Jesus didn’t do what anyone expected him to do. Everything about Jesus’ life turned the religious establishment on its head, starting with where he grew up. His coming from Nazareth was in many ways a direct rebuke of the Pharisaical corruption in the religious center of Jerusalem.
What’s stunning is that the religious leaders SHOULD have been the FIRST to recognize Jesus. After all they studied the prophecies of the Old Testament more than anyone else. In Isaiah 9:1-2 it reads, “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
In the time of Isaiah, Zebulun and Naphtali (which were cities in the region of Galilee) suffered greatly at the hands of the Assyrians. They were oppressed and it was a very dark time in Israel’s history. But Isaiah prophesied that, “out of Galilee would come a great light.” In other words, out of GALILEE would come the savior who would redeem Israel.
The bottom line is Jesus was nothing like what people thought the messiah would be like. He didn’t come from where they expected him to come from and He didn’t speak or act like they expected either. Ya boy Jesus was a true rebel to the establishment in every way!
And so Jesus comes out of Nazareth looking for his cousin John to baptize him in the Jordan river. As we discussed last week, baptism was something brand new. It was offensive to prideful Jews because it required them to admit they were sinners (see week one for more on this). In short, John was calling all people to be baptized for the repentance of sins. Now at this point a huge question might be stirring in your mind and it’s important we answer it. If that’s true about what baptism is, why would Jesus need to be baptized? Well don’t worry, you’re not the only one who asked that question. John wrestled with that too! Matthew 3 tells us that when Jesus asked JB(John the Baptist) to baptize Him he fought back HARD. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Matthew 3:14
Why was there such conflict in JB? Because if anyone DID NOT need to be baptized it was Jesus right? He was PERFECT and Holy in every way. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
For JB it was UNTHINKABLE that he would baptize Jesus. In his mind it should have been the other way around. For John it was the equivalent of me running into Michael Jordan at the local gym and telling him HE needs to take jump shot lessons from ME. Crazytown!
And yet this was what Jesus commanded John to do. So, the million dollar question is, if Jesus never sinned, why did He need to be baptized?
FIRST, TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS
Matthew tells us in his gospel account that when John pushed back on baptizing Jesus this was his response; Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. Matthew 3:15
What exactly does that mean? Well, the hard truth that so many in our world don’t want to acknowledge is that the righteous requirement of God’s law was death as payment for sin. Hebrews 9:22 says that, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” Jesus' mission on earth WAS TO FULFILL THAT REQUIREMENT. His mission was to become the final “shed blood” for the forgiveness of sins through his death on the cross.
When we think about our baptism it symbolizes our being washed clean by what Christ does for us on the cross. HIS death fulfills OUR righteousness. Our baptism looks BACK to what Jesus did for us on the cross. But Christ’s baptism symbolized the FUTURE. The future redemptive work that he would accomplish when he put himself in the place of sinners and sacrificed himself on our behalf. His baptism symbolize the perfect lamb substituting himself in for us. As he went down into the water it represented him putting himself in our place, dying the death we should have died, and taking our sin upon himself. And when he came back out of the water it represented his resurrection and the new life he would bring to all who submit to Him as Lord and Savior. In that moment he was fulfilling all righteousness through perfect obedience to his heavenly father.
SECOND, TO ACT AS HIS ROYAL CORONATION
Let’s look at the scene described by Mark in verses 10-11; “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. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
I want you to just imagine this amazing scene. Jesus is standing in the waters of the Jordan with JB. John dips Jesus into the water and as he’s coming out suddenly the skies open up and the Holy Spirit of God visibly comes down in the form of a dove. At the same moment God the Father can be audibly heard proclaiming this is my son! This is your messiah! I am so pleased with who he is! At this moment Jesus is being fully endorsed by the Holy trinity of God. Coronated as the rightful King of the world. The son was there physically in the water receiving the crown. The spirit was there visibly descending upon Him empowering and anointing Jesus to accomplish his mission. Finally the father was there audibly proclaiming “this is my son whom I love and am pleased with.” It was as if he was being knighted by God himself for all to see.
Why is this important? The bottom line is this moment leaves no doubt as to the validity of Jesus’ kingship. He is the perfect, fully anointed, sacrificial lamb and son of God. Fully endorsed by God to do the work of salvation and restoration for the world. His baptism authenticates who he is. He’s not a sinner, but the SAVIOR of sinners! It is unbelievably important! And the truth is it should have left no doubt in anyone’s mind who witnessed his coronation that day. And yet, his authority was questioned OVER AND OVER again. Sometime later Jesus is questioned by the religious leaders as he often was when he would teach or do miracles. “By whose authority are you doing these things,” they asked? And guess what Jesus points back to? That’s right, his baptism coronation moment.
29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!” 31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) 33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” Mark 11:29-33
In other words; do you remember when I was baptized? Do you believe John was really a prophet? Everyone else seems to believe it and I’m pretty sure you know he was. John affirmed me as the messiah, my heavenly father affirmed me as the messiah, and yet you refuse to believe it. And until you do I can’t help you. If you’re going to blatantly disregard the authenticity of my Kingship then I can’t help you change. That’s the start.
And so here’s the bottom line today. Until we believe that Jesus is the rightful King of the world and submit to Him there is nothing he can do for us. Make no mistake about it He wants to transform our lives. He wants to bring restoration and hope and help us become the people we were created to be. But he can’t change anything let alone everything, until we submit to his authority as King! So many of us want things to change in our lives. We want our relationships to get better. We want our finances to get better. We want to kick habits and addictions. We want to have more peace and joy and contentment. And yet nothing changes and we wonder why? Don’t miss this today, it’s because we haven’t submitted to the King’s authority. Like so many people in Christ’s day we refuse to recognize his coronation.
Here’s the question we must ask; does King Jesus really have authority over my life? And if not, what’s it going to take? What’s it going to take for us to see that we don’t make very good kings over our own lives? What’s it going to take to see that Jesus really is worthy of being our king.
So, are you ready to see some real change happen? Give Jesus complete authority over your life. Over your relationships, over your finances, over sexual life, over your career. Begin to wake up every morning and say, “Lord Jesus I submit my life and my plans to you today. I want to honor you as my king in the way I think and live. The challenge for many of us is that we don’t always see Jesus’ ways as good. We struggle to be obedient because we wonder if Jesus really has our best interest in mind. I was watching “The Karate Kid” with my boys a few weeks ago and I was struck by one of the most famous scenes in the movie. Mr. Miyagi agrees to train a young student named Daniel who knows nothing about Karate. For months he simply has him painting fences and waxing his car. And finally one day Daniel gets so fed up with it that he gets angry and threatens to quit. It’s at this point that Mr. Miyagi shows him how all that time spent waxing and painting was actually preparing him to do Karate. I believe our relationship with Jesus is often much like that. Jesus says, “do this and it will lead to a better life.” And we think, “this is stupid. I’m not seeing any results.” But all along Jesus knows what is best if we will just submit to his authority. Jesus is for your joy. He wants to do a work in you. But we must submit. We must trust that our “sensei” knows what is best for us.
In the end, here’s the greatest reason we can trust Jesus. Our King says we are sinners and that there are deadly consequences for our sin. But our amazing King decided that instead of us doing the time for the crime, he would do the time for us. He would take the punishment and let us off the hook. He says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
That’s it. That’s the glorious truth of the gospel. That’s the truth of his amazing grace. Profess Him as Lord and believe in your heart that he is the only way we can be saved. And from that point forward if we will submit to his authority as King He will begin to transform our life!
Want to know more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus? We would love to talk with you! No matter where you are at in your journey, you are welcomed here. Check out our visit us page to see what to expect during our Sunday Celebrations. If you simply have more questions, whether about this message or Jesus, OR if you feel you are ready to take the leap and receive salvation through faith, then reach out to us via the contact form or at email@example.com.