Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Text Mark 1:4-11

                     Lectionary Gospel Reading QUICK OVERVIEW
                                         For January 8, 2006

Text:  Mark 1:4-11

Key Word:  Cleansing

Key Verses: Mark 1: 9-11 “…Jesus …was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And  when He  came up out of the water , at once he (John) saw the heavens torn open and the (Holy) Spirit like a dove, coming down (to enter) into Him;  and there came a voice out from within heaven, You are My Beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”  (Amplified Bible).

Key Thought:  The sign and seal of being initiated into the new covenant worship of the holy God, is a cleansing from sin and consecration of heart and life, symbolized by baptism with water.

Outline of Ideas Presented in the Text:

Mark, who traveled with the apostle Peter and heard his preaching on the teachings and life of Jesus, wrote a brief synopsis of Jesus life, possibly at the request of the church at Rome.  He skipped over Jesus’ early life and concentrated on His passion with a long but fast moving introduction.

The Roman custom was for public heralds to precede important public officials and tell of their soon arrival.  Mark started right in with John the Baptist’s heralding the coming of the long awaited Christ. This Christ was holy and required cleansing from sin as preparation to meet Him. This was accomplished by confessing past sins and committing to turn from them and receive God’s forgiveness as symbolized by being baptized.  John’s preaching caused a great awakening that brought estimates of as many as a million people, from all over Judea and especially Jerusalem, to hear him. John baptized in the Jordan River those who responded in repentance and desired to be cleansed of their sin and receive God’s forgiveness.  Verses 4-5.

John the Baptist, like Elijah the Old Testament prophet he represented (Malachi 4:5), lived a simple humble life in wilderness seclusion until he entered into his public preaching on the outskirts of the desert.  He presented a striking contrast to the ostentatious religious leaders of Judah in dress, diet and message.  His preaching lifted up Christ and put down himself.  He pointed out that his baptism was only a preparatory cleansing to a much greater one that the Christ would perform. This Christ would baptize and pour out the Holy Spirit in cleansing and empowering as predicted in the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32).  Verses 6-8.

Mark immediately skipped to Jesus’ first public appearance for His baptism.  Jesus was sinless and did not need to be cleansed of sin but He came to earn our Salvation by perfectly keeping the law of the covenant in all its aspects.  This covenant law included the initiation rite of circumcision as a sign and seal of the old covenant (Genesis 17:7-14). This was being replaced by the initiation rite of baptism into the new covenant (Acts 2:38-39) Verse 9.

Next we see Mark’s account of Peter’s dramatic description of Jesus’ baptism.  This was a picture of the trinity in action--One God in three persons. Jesus the Divine Son came up from the water.  God the Holy Spirit appeared in the likeness of a dove portraying the image of purity, gentleness, and peace.  The Holy Spirit was seen coming down from heaven to anoint Christ and to begin His supernatural ministry through Christ.  God the Father in heaven was heard speaking in loving approval of His Son at the inauguration of His Son’s public ministry. God’s love originated in the relationship between the three Persons as They appreciated the perfections of Purity, Goodness, Wisdom, Faithfulness, etc., in each Other.  As true believers are “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:6) they participate in this flow of  love as the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of faithfulness, love, purity, gentleness, etc., in them. (Galatians 5:22-25).  Verses 10-11.


Have I been initiated into Christ’s new covenant relationship by being baptized?  

Have I been forgiven and cleansed of my old sinful ways?

Do I hate sin in my life and daily confess to the Lord and ask His forgiveness?

Have I received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and His power to change me and minister to others?

Is the Father pleased with my walk in Christ?

Am I in a loving relationship with God and with others?

Joe Sturz  



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