Mark 1:9-15 • Pastor Chris Liu
Certain athletes are very particular in how they prepare themselves before a game. They will go through a certain routine that helps them focus on the task ahead of them. Jesus, at the start of His ministry, chose to do a couple of things to help Him prepare for His ministry here on earth.
The very first thing Jesus did was to get baptized. Jesus did not have to get baptized, but He chose to do it for a couple of reasons. First, He wanted to affirm the message that John the Baptist was preaching. John was proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah and Jesus agreed that He was The One. His baptism was a public announcement of who He was. The second reason Jesus got baptized was to show that God also affirmed His calling and that He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t have the Holy Spirit in Him already, but it was an audial and visual affirmation. A third reason for his baptism was to connect with us as humans. He was setting the example of what we should do when we turn our lives over to God. Jesus was relating to us as humans.
The second thing that Jesus did was to go into the wilderness to prepare His heart and mind for the task ahead. Jesus knew that this ministry was going to be difficult. He knew that people would not understand Him, that people will reject Him, and that ultimately, He would have to suffer and die. He went away by Himself to prepare Himself.
While He was there, the devil appeared to tempt Him and try and take Him off course. In the other gospel books, we see the devil tempt Him in 3 different ways. However, Mark, focuses on the 40 days instead of giving specific examples. I believe that it was a constant temptation that Jesus had to endure. However, Jesus was able to overcome those temptations and angels came to minister to Him.
In the same way, whenever God calls us to serve Him, the devil may also show up to try and tempt us and take us off course. He will try to lie to us and get us to doubt our calling, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can resit temptation and do the things that God has called us to do. Know that whatever God is calling you to do, that He will give you the means to do it.
Finally, Jesus starts His ministry and calls people to “repent and believe in the gospel.” For those of you who have not yet given your life over to Christ, I urge you to repent and believe in the Good News that God has died for your sins. For those who have committed your lives to Christ, I urge you to be baptized (if you have not already done so) and to be true disciples who are growing and serving God in whatever He is calling you to do.