Read Mark 1:9-13
Crowds have gathered to check out this mad man in the wilderness. But they are not just casual observers, they are responding. Person after person is heading into the river to be baptised by John. John promises them that the Messiah is on the way and the crowds in faithful obedience are getting ready. But then someone different turns up, a relative of John’s, a man called; Jesus. And Jesus, like the many before him, heads into the river to be baptised by John. But this baptism is different, when Jesus is raised out of the water, he sees Heaven open wide and the spirit of God descend as a dove. He hears the words that so many long to hear, words of affirmation and validation.
‘This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased’
I love this because there is both a confirmation that Jesus is the very son of God but also a personal affirmation to Jesus that He, the Father, is well pleased. This moment tells us something about the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. We see this beautiful snapshot of the love that exists between the two. At the very beginning of his public ministry Jesus is encouraged by God the Father, not because of anything he was yet to do, but simply because of who he is. From an earthly point of view, you would expect this sort of affirmation after Jesus had done something spectacular, but it’s not said after he feeds five thousand, or raises the dead, heals the sick, cures the paralysed, or even drives out demons. It’s not after Jesus has conquered death and won salvation for all who put their trust in him, but it’s at the very beginning of his ministry. Why? Some would argue that it is because Jesus was obedient to being baptised, or because God knew what was to come, and whilst I agree that these are significant I fear these theories are simply over-thinking the obvious, the answer is in God’s words – ‘this is my son’ God is pleased with Jesus simply because of who he is, His son!
As you continue to read and explore the book of Mark, may you continue to return to the core truth of who Jesus is. Not simply a man who points us to God, not just a guy with a lot of helpful teachings but the very Son of God come to earth to make a way where there seemed to be no way.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What is the difference between following Jesus just because he gave good advice and following Jesus because you believe he is the Son of God?
- What does it mean to know that God delights in you simply because you are who you are and he created you?
- What does it mean to be obedient to God this week? Is there something you need to do or a behaviour or attitude you need to work on?
- How could you connect with someone (remembering social distancing) outside of your family to encourage or be a friend to this week?