Notes on Mark’s Gospel (9)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Submission and Spirit Filling (Chapter 1 Verses 9-13)

We turn now to the official inauguration of the Lord to his Messianic office (Matthew 313-17; Luke 3.21-22). The time has come for him to lay aside his secular labours and take up the work for which his Father sent him (John 4.34). There is something unique in this baptism, however, apart from all the others, John performed. It is the issue of obedience. Jesus shows his willingness to obey, and though not needing to be baptized, submits himself to it. The Son of God submits himself not only to but actually fulfils all righteousness (Matthew 3.15). And even to the point of paying the very penalty of violating his own legal system, death (Romans 6.23; 1Peter 2.24; 3.18; Philippians 2.5-11). If Jesus Christ found it necessary to humbly submit to, and obey the word and will of God, how much more do you and me? But there is something more significant. Why does the sinless Son of God engage in a baptismal rite of repentance (1.4)? Because he chooses to be numbered with sinners, those for whom such a baptism was ordered (Isaiah 53.12b). He came to be a Saviour of sinners (1Timothy 1.15), to welcome sinners (Luke 15.2), to communicate and interact with sinners (Matthew 9.10). He came to identify with them and take their load of sin upon himself (1Peter 2.24).

“He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone”.
(C.H. Gabriel).

How marvellous! How wonderful! He begins his redemptive work by this act of baptism, which sheds some light on a greater baptism (Luke 12.50).

This Spirit baptism of Jesus does not mean v10, he was not already full of the Holy Spirit. He was conceived by the Spirit (Matthew 1.20) and filled from birth. Now Jesus is officially equipped, anointed and gifted by God’s Spirit, now he is publicly declared to be the Messiah. Not only does the Spirit descend upon him but the Apostle John insists that he (Spirit) stayed (John 1.33). Jesus was sealed by the Spirit, anointed (Isaiah 61.1), the Holy Spirit became his very nature, his life. The one who would give birth to a new humanity fulfilled his ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit whose life becomes his, God was in him and he was in God (Colossians 2.9). And wonder of all wonders we in him, have all that fullness too (Romans 8.1; Colossians 2.10).

(© James R Hamilton, written September 1996)

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