Mark Sermon # 1 January 7, 2018
Mark 1:1-13 “Who Is This Jesus?”
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” —3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[g] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Last Sunday we looked at Jesus’ first recorded word in Luke 2, and we saw that they were both questions: “Why were you searching for me?’ and “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” We drew two truths from these first words of Jesus. First, that Jesus used masterful questions to always cut to the heart of a matter, and second, that Jesus had a matchless relationship with God the Father, as His devoted, beloved, and obedient Son…which meant that His relationship to His Father in Heaven took priority over all other relationships, including doing the Father’s will by going to the cross, for our sakes, and for God’s glory.
That incident in the temple, when Jesus was 12 years old, is the only glimpse we get of Jesus until He is ready to begin His public ministry at age 30… and that is what we read today in Mark 1:1-13. Jesus suddenly appears on the scene, is anointed and dedicated for His ministry, and jumps right into it.
And the question I want us to ask again and again as we go through the gospel of Mark is this: “Who is this Jesus?” “Do I really know Him for all that He is and all that He has done?” Let me ask you: have been living with sub-standard understanding of Jesus? My prayer is that God the Holy Spirit would open your eyes, pierce your heart, awaken your conscience, and help you to behold the Lord Jesus Christ in a new and awesome way!
So who is this Jesus?
I. Jesus is the Second Person of the Triune Godhead
A. He is the Beloved Son of God the Father (v. 11)
B. He is the Collaborator with the Holy Spirit (vv. 8, 10, 12)
As Jesus comes up from the waters of his baptism, God the Father’s voice pronounces three things about Jesus Christ. First, “You are my Son.” Second, “I love you.” And third, I am well pleased with you.” Think about the love and the joy in God the Father’s heart, as He beholds His Son embarking on his earthly mission! This is a relationship of delight, of being suitably proud, of exalting the other one! And by the way, God uses that same word, beloved of God, to describe those who by grace are in Christ, in Romans 1:7. Therefore God loves you and calls you His beloved, as you are in Christ!
Now this relationship between God the Father and God the Son is a deep mystery and an awesome thing to contemplate. For as soon as Jesus is introduced to us, we see Him in a living and vital relationship to God His Father, and to God the Holy Spirit. Notice that the Bible does not present us with a systematic theology of the doctrine of the Trinity, of three divine persons in the One God. Rather, God’s Word gives us a dynamic picture of how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit relate to each other and minister together. (Life is relationships!)
Mark gives us three facts about how Jesus, the Son of God, and God the Holy Spirit, work together.
First, John tells us in v. 8 that Jesus will baptize people with the Holy Spirit.
Second, we read in v. 10 that the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove.
Third, the Holy Spirit sent Jesus out into the desert, the wilderness (v. 12)
Commentator Alan Cole notes that the Holy Spirit is seen here in two lights. First He is the gentle “dove” hovering over Jesus the Savior, just as in the story of Noah and the flood, the dove hovered over the ark of salvation and the waters of judgment (Gen. 8:8). Second, the Holy Spirit is also the mighty Spirit of creation (Gen. 1:2), hovering over the baptismal waters, out of which God will call His new creation, in terms of men and women who are born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:17). It is this mighty Spirit of power who irresistibly impels Jesus into the wilderness, not only as the place where so many OT prophets received their call and revelations, but also the place where OT Israel was tested.
Friends, we can see in these few verses the intimate connection and the dynamic relationship between God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And all our human relationships, all our love, and all our joy flows from the dynamic dance of the three in one Godhead!
II. Jesus is fully human and fully divine
A. Jesus is flesh of our flesh; He shares our created humanity (v. 9, 13)
B. Jesus is King of Kings; He retains His divinity (vv. 3, 7)
Here is a second mystery, full of awe and wonder. Jesus Christ is both human and divine; He is at the same time flesh of our flesh and the only begotten Son of God (v. 1 “The Son of God”) who is the Divine King of all kings! He was conceived by God the Holy Spirit, yet He was born of a woman. Jesus had human weaknesses and limitations, and yet He was holy, sinless, perfect, and fully divine.
Because He shared our humanity, Jesus subjected Himself to being baptized (v. 9) – though as the sinless Savior, He had no need to repent of any sins. In order to take on our weakness and struggles, Jesus allowed Himself to suffer hunger, intense heat and cold, danger from wild animals, as well as the attacks of Satan, as He endured 40 days and nights in the harsh desert wilderness (v, 13).
But in becoming a man, like us, Jesus retained His full Divinity. We see in v. 3 the way being prepared for Him as it would be for a great king! We read in v. 7 that even the great prophet John the Baptist announces that he is not worthy to perform the most menial task for this Exalted One, not even to stoop down and untie His sandal! For Jesus is the Divine King of Kings, the Exalted One from Heaven!
What this all means is that Jesus is sympathetic to all our human emotions, to all our aches and pains, to our struggles and temptations… and yet at the same time, He comes to earth retaining all His divinity: He forgives sins; He calms the storms; He heals the leper and raises the dead. As a man, Jesus felt our infirmities and weaknesses; as God, He raises us up to triumph over them.
So on the one hand we fall down before Him and worship Him; on the other hand He invites us to call Him our friend and our elder brother! On the one hand we are not worthy to be in the same boat or the same room with this Son of God, and yet on the other hand, He welcomes us as His special guests at His banqueting table! You know, only one who is fully human and who is fully divine could be our Savior, and that’s who Jesus is.
Is this the Jesus that you really know? Do you trust Him and submit to Him with all your heart?
III. Jesus fulfills all past Scripture and leads us to future victory.
A. Jesus is the second Adam, the true Israel, the promised Messiah (vv. 2-3, 12-13)
B. Jesus is the Redeemer (v. 4), the conqueror of Satan (13)
Here we see Jesus at the very center of all history. All of creation has been waiting for the revealing of the Messiah; Israel and God-fearing gentiles have been looking for 2,000 years for the coming of the promised One, and the prophets have been searching for the fulfillment of the amazing prophecies being foretold about the One who was to come…. And now, He is here! Prepare the way for the long-awaited Messiah (vv. 2-3)! Hail Him as the Conquering Hero!
And as this Redeemer comes to us, Mark informs us that Jesus comes to fulfill, to fully realize, to complete and accomplish all that those before Him failed to do. For consider:
Where the first Adam failed God’s test of trust ad obedience in the garden, the second Adam, Jesus, succeeded, by faithfully doing the will of the Father.
Where OT Israel failed God’s testing for 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus comes as the true Israel, living in the desert for 40 days, overcoming the temptations of Satan, as He relies on His Father; He succeeds where Israel failed, again and again.
That should encourage us! When we blow it, when we fail, when we sin –again and again – the answer is not that we just need to try harder, or beat ourselves, or make bigger sacrifices. No. The answer is found in the wondrous truth that Jesus Christ has overcome in our place! Jesus has obtained the victory for us! The incarnate Son of God has been faithful when we have been faithless, and therefore God urges us to collapse on Christ; to rest in all He has done in our place and on our behalf! Hallelujah!
But not only did Jesus fulfill all prophecy and come as the second Adam, the true Israel; Mark the gospel writer also gives us hints of a great future redemption, when Jesus will come again, in power and in glory, to judge the earth and to take His loved ones home to heaven, forever.
For instead of being in a desert, He will take us to His garden paradise.
Instead of being tempted by Satan, we will see Him crushing Satan’s head
Instead of John the Baptist bowing low, unworthy to even untie Jesus’ sandals, we will see Jesus raising up all who have been humbled. “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
And in addition to hearing God the Father saying to Jesus ‘You are my beloved Son,” we will also hear God welcoming those who have believed in Jesus as His adopted sons and daughters, in whom He is well pleased!
This is who Jesus is! The beloved Son of God the Father and the collaborator with God the Holy Spirit!
He is a human being, as we are, but He is fully divine, in order to be able to save us!
He is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures, the Second Adam, the True Israel, the greater David and the One more glorious than Solomon, and He is the One who will return in power and in glory to make all things new!
Who is this Jesus to you?