Devotional #6 (10/29/12). Jesus is baptized and starts His ministry.
Intro: Last week we learned about Simeon and Anna and read about Jesus growing up. When we started on September 24 we have been reading through Luke but now we are going to transition into Mark. Mark chapter 1 picks up with John the Baptist’s ministry.
This Week’s Reading: Mark 1:1-20.
Note: Several times I have mentioned that Jesus is fully God and fully Man. Because we are transferring to the book of Mark we will miss studying the genealogy of Jesus. If you read Matthew 1:1-16 you’ll see Joseph’s genealogy. A genealogy is a list of kids and parents to trace back where someone came from. You might say ‘why does this matter since Jesus’ bloodline came through Mary?’ but it is important how His earthly father (Joseph) raised Him. But the Bible balances everything perfectly so in Luke 3:23-38 we see Mary’s genealogy also. If you notice both Mary and Joseph can be traced through king David, so all prophecies and how Jesus was raised fit perfectly into God’s plan.
vv. 1-3. Mark begins with prophetic quotes from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 about how John the Baptist would prepare people’s hearts for Jesus.
vv. 4-5. Here we see John has started baptizing people. Baptism is when a person is dunked under water. Here it says that it was for people to “repent” of their sins. This means they were sorry that they had done bad things and that they didn’t want to do them anymore. So they “confessed” (in other words, ‘said out loud’) their sins to God. At this time John was preparing their hearts for Jesus to save them from their sins. When a person is baptized now (or any time after Jesus died on the cross) it shows that they want others to recognize that Jesus has changed their heart. In other words, it’s an outer sign of an inward change.
vv. 6-8. John’s description was prophesied in Malachi 4:5. He tells everyone that he can’t save them but that he is just a man. John says his baptism is just limited to water but the Savior will give the Holy Spirit to anyone who accepts Him.
vv. 9-11. Here Jesus is baptized by John to show that God the Father would bless Jesus’ ministry. We see the three Persons of God here in the Holy Spirit appearing “like a dove”, God the Father’s voice and Jesus the Son. The Father says that only Jesus is approved by God, only Jesus is perfect and willing to sacrifice Himself for our sins. This “pleased” the Father because although He knew it would hurt Jesus He also knew that humans would finally have a Savior and that Jesus would rise from the dead!
vv. 12-13. This is a very quick telling of Jesus’ temptation by Satan. If you would like to see more you can read Matthew 4:1-11or Luke 4:1-13. The important thing is that the Holy Spirit led Jesus out in the first step of overthrowing Satan’s earthly kingdom. Here we see Jesus quotes the Bible each time that Satan tries to get Jesus to sin, we should also know our Bible so that when we are tempted to do bad things we will win over Satan, with God’s power. Also if you would like to read what was meant about angels taking care of us see Psalm 91:11-12.
vv. 14-18. Here we see that John was thrown in jail, as we’ll see in Mark 6:17-18, because John said it wasn’t right for Herod to marry his own niece. So now Jesus is telling people not just to repent (turn around) from their sin but to believe in the “gospel” (or “good news”). Jesus is the “good news” and this news had traveled all over the country. Jesus asks the brothers Simon and Andrew to follow Him and be His disciple. A disciple is someone who learns what their teacher tells them and then goes and teaches others. We see that they believed He was the Savior because they leave everything and go with Him.
vv. 19-20. The same thing happens with the brothers James and John except the Bible mentions their father Zebedee. I wonder if their father was upset or pleased. Did he feel blessed that his sons were literally called by God or was he angry that he lost two extra workers? We can look at our own lives and ask how we handle a child or friend being taken for God’s purposes.
Summary: We learned that we must admit the bad things we’ve done and desire to change. We can’t change on our own but we must trust in the only acceptable Savior, Jesus Christ! We read how Jesus was baptized, tempted by Satan and started calling some of His disciples. We’ll hear more about the disciples and how the religious leaders start picking fights with Jesus, next week.