1st Sunday in Lent
As we begin our Lent Series, Peter Dickinson explains how Jesus joins all things together. This is seen most here in Chapter 1 as Mark continues to introduce Jesus’ identity. Join with us virtually as we mark the start of Lent and celebrate the one who brings all things together
Reflection – Mark 1:9-15 (Peter Dickinson)
Mark in just 6 verses brings together Jesus’ baptism (vv9-11), his temptation (vv12-13), and his announcement of the coming of the kingdom and his call to repentance and belief. (vv14-15) – three very distinct and important aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry.
John was baptizing sinners and said NO, to the one he recognized as the one God had prepared him for – you should be baptizing me. Jesus is saying, “let me be baptized to fulfill the scriptures.” And so, Jesus was “baptized by John in the Jordan” (v9)
In Mark’s Gospel, as Jesus comes out of the water, he sees the “heavens torn-apart” and “the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove on him” and the voice from heaven saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”
John the Baptisttestifies (in John 1:32), he also saw the vision of the Spirit descending and God telling him the one on whom the Spirit remains is the Son of God. This baptism truly establishes Jesus identity as the Son of God.
Mark continues, “the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness” (v. 12), not to Jerusalem and the temple as we might expect God to be, but into the Arabian wilderness. God is telling Jesus – it’s time to encounter Satan face to face and deliver a telling defeat.
“He was there in the wilderness forty days tempted by Satan” (v. 13a). Mark doesn’t describe specific temptations, but Matthew and Luke tell of three temptations – unconnected but drawn together wherein Jesus defeats Satan’s challenges:
• To make bread from stones
• To throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple and
• To worship Satan (Matthew 4:3-10).
John, who had upset Herod’s wife, is put in prison and his mission, to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, has ended and Jesus takes over, beginning his ministry, proclaiming: ‘The time has come, the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and Believe in the Good News’” (vv.14b-15). Jesus tells them here, “that which you have been waiting for has happened – the Kingdom is “at hand.”
Jesus, by coming to earth, is saying – I am here, trust that I have joined myself to you and rely on this – God’s faithful promise, that I will be with you to the end.
Jesus was baptized, not in the sense of turning from sin, but in the sense of dedicating himself to follow God’s will, fully on earth. (Your will be done)
Heavenly Father, your Son battled with the powers of darkness and grew closer to you in the desert: help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is a redeemer
Jesus, God’s own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain
Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
‘Til the work on Earth is done