The Gospel of Mark: a commentary & meditation 
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased"

Scripture: Mark 1:9-13

9. In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; 11 and a voice came from heaven, "Thou are my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased." 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Meditation:  Why did Jesus, the Sinless One, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3).  In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of his bloody death upon the cross.  Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant.  He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.  Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

The Father proclaimed his entire delight in his Son and spoke audibly for all to hear.  The Holy Spirit, too, was present as he anointed Jesus for his ministry which began that day as he rose from the waters of the Jordan river.  Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all who come to believe in him.  At his baptism the heavens were opened and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, signifying the beginning of a new creation.

How can we enter into the mystery of Jesus’ humble self-abasement and baptism?  Gregory of Nazianzus, a seventh century Church father tells us: “Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him." Do you want to see changes in your life?  And do you want to become a more effective instrument of the gospel?  Examine Jesus’ humility and ask the Holy Spirit to forge this same attitude in your heart.  As you do, heaven will open for you as well.  The Lord is ever ready to renew us in his Spirit and to anoint us for mission. We are called to be “light” and “salt” to those around us.  The Lord wants his love and truth to shine through us that others may see the goodness and truth of God’s message of salvation.  Ask the Lord to fill you with his Holy Spirit that you may radiate the joy of the gospel to those around you.

Do you ever fell compelled or driven to do something for God? Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to spend forty days and nights in prayer and fasting in a lonely place. Why was he compelled to seek solitude for such a lengthy period? Was it simply a test to prepare him for his ministry? Or did Satan want to lure him into a trap? The word tempt in English usually means to entice to sin.  The scriptural word here means test in the sense of proving and purifying someone to see if there are ready for the task at hand.  We test pilots to see that they are fit to fly.  Likewise God tests his servants to see if they are fit to be used by him.  God tested Abraham to prove his faith.  Jesus was no exception to this testing. Satan will try his best to induce us to choose our will over God's will.  If he cannot induce us to apostasize or to sin mortally, he will then try to get us to make choices that will lead us away from what God wants for us.  Jesus was tempted like us and he overcame not by his own human strength but by the grace and strength which his Father gave to him.  He had to renounce his will for the will of his Father.  He succeeded because he wanted to please his Father and he trusted that his Father would give him the strength to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to be our strength and guide and our consoler in temptation and testing. God the Father is ready to give us all that we need to live in his way of love and righteousness.  Do you rely on the Lord for your strength and help?

"Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit and inflame my heart with the joy of the gospel.  May I find joy in seeking to please you just as you found joy in seeking to please your Father".

Go to | Mark | Luke | Matthew | John | Parables of Jesus | Daily Reading & Meditation Index |
 (c) 2000 Don Schwager