Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mark 1:9-13 - The temptation and baptism of Jesus - Pete's Bible Commentary


Mark 1:9-13 - 9At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." 12At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Something must be said of the amazing experience this would have been for John. John was the cousin of Jesus, and was well aware that he was the promised Messiah that the Old Testament Scriptures promised. You know what runs through John's mind? "You should be the one baptising me!" John, nonetheless is afforded the privelege of baptising Jesus in the Jordan river. Picture, the crowd looking in, and John nervously lowering Jesus into the river. The presence of God is around about the situation; a great picture of the trinity.

This is a wonderful, insightful picture of the Trinity [Father, Son, Holy Spirit] in the Scriptures, in Mark 1:10, as we see Jesus arising from the water, as the Spirit descends on him and God in heaven making a declaration. The Trinity has always been. When we consider Genesis chapter one (First chapter in the Bible), we see "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The word for God here is Elohim (אלהים) which is used in its plural form - hmm... suspicious - this might be a sign already of the Trinity in Scripture!

The picture of the Holy Spirit in this passage is one of a dove, and in our minds a dove conjures up words like peace, humility and gentleness. Interestingly, this peaceful, humble and gentle spirit then says, 'Right, up you get, and go into the desert and be tested!' As we consider the character of the Holy Spirit from these verses, we have a two-fold expression of both peace and activism. The Spirit rests on Jesus, and then the prompt is to now go out into the desert and tackle self-control, obedience and perseverance.

In our lives, we need the peace of the Holy Spirit to rest on us. We need the Spirit to descend on us in such a way, that we are prompted to go to the places the Spirit leads us, or be open to be prompted, like, 'Right, get a move on - it's time to go to Botswana'. God asked of it to Abraham. Remember? God said, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you...' (Gen 12:1). Well, God may not ask us to move countries and be a missionary in a foreign land, but he may ask us to go into a metaphorical desert and be tempted. Are you ready for that?

Mark is the first-century king of simplicity. Jesus goes into the desert (v. 12), and he's there forty days, and he is tempted, and angels attend to him. Now lets move on to another story, says Mark. Well maybe it's better than Matthew stating the obvious, 'After fasting forty days and forty nights [in the desert], he was hungry' (Mt 4:2). Thanks Matthew for that ever insightful comment on the Saviour of the world. I guess it does highlight his humanity - sorry to all the docetists out there!

Angels attended Jesus. What does this mean? Did the angels massage Jesus? Or bless his with a soft pillow? Or did the angels somehow bless him with encouragement, of the mind, body and soul? All my mind says is, wouldn't it be great if angels attended to us, and lifted us up when we were down, or if they encouraged someone to say an uplifting word to us when we needed it. Our day-to-day lives would be better off, if the angels that attended to Jesus would gracefully attend to us, and help us live lives worthy of being called a Christian.
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Mark 1:9-13 - The temptation and baptism of Jesus is part of Pete's Bible Commentary, written by Pete Brookshaw.

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