Brad Libolt speaking on Mark 1:9-20. He spoke about how Jesus fits the Moses model and does it even better. Asking us if we have made the decision to follow Jesus, if we would respond like the disciples and be willing to leave what we know for him.
- Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time. Other good players who come up are often compared to Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant and Lebron James are compared to Michael Jordan to determine if they are in fact the best, because Jordan is the standard. This is what Mark is doing in the structure of this passage. He is comparing Jesus to Moses.
- Before we dive into this passage we should notice something about the way it is set up. It is set up to show us that Jesus was a fulfillment of another prophecy, another kind of sign from the Old Testament.
- Do you guys remember Moses? Moses lived in Egypt when the Israelites were enslaved there, and God called him to be the people’s deliverer. He led them out of Egypt through the Red sea and into the wilderness where the Israelites wandered for 40 years. They kept making mistakes, so Moses would intercede for them, and ask God to hold back his judgment. Then Moses died, but we find a very interesting verse at the end of Deuteronomy, the end of Moses’ life story.
- In Deuteronomy 34:10-12 it says, “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”
- So at the end of Moses’ life story, there is this little comment. Since Moses, there has not been a man like him. So this introduces us to what is called the Moses model. The Israelites need someone like Moses. The Messiah, the one who is going to deliver God’s people, is going to look like Moses. So throughout the Old Testament all these characters are kind of compared to Moses, to see if they are the new Moses. Obviously none of them were, but let’s take a look at the way Jesus’ ministry begins.
- He goes through water in his baptism, is called out by God, goes into the wilderness for 40 days and overcomes temptation (unlike the Israelites), then begins a ministry where he does miraculous deeds showing off his mighty power and delivers people from their sin. Looks a lot like the story of Moses doesn’t it?
- So Mark is showing his readers that Jesus is the new Moses. Jesus fits the Moses model, but does it even better. He is the prophet that is to come, the one that the people have been waiting for for hundreds of years.
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 being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
- Jesus comes from his home town of Nazareth from the region of Galilee, and he comes to be baptized by John. But why does Jesus need to be baptized? He doesn’t have any sin, he doesn’t need to repent, so why is he being baptized?
- There are a few things to note about the baptism of Jesus.
- First, remember the story of Joshua. After Moses died Joshua became Israel’s leader and led God’s people into the Promised Land. But in order to get into the Promised Land, they had to cross the Jordan river. In Hebrew, Jesus and Joshua have the same name: Yeshua. It means salvation. So, the last time a Yeshua was in the Jordan river, God’s people entered the Promised Land, which symbolized rest and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. Now, another Yeshua is in the Jordan river, and this Yeshua is also bringing God’s people rest and is ushering in and establishing the kingdom of God.
- Second, Jesus’ baptism affirms John’s ministry. Remember John was teaching that repentance and confession led to forgiveness, and by being baptized by John Jesus affirmed this message. Like I said last week, John didn’t just prepare the way for Jesus by telling people he was coming, he prepared their hearts for the message of Jesus by teaching them that repentance and confession of sins leads to forgiveness.
- Lastly, Jesus’ baptism models our responsibility. As Christians, we have a responsibility to be baptized. Before Jesus ascends into heaven at the end of his ministry, he tells his disciples to go into the world and make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus commands us to be baptized and to baptize others, and he can tell us to do that because he did it as well. Now some quick points on baptism. Baptism does not save. It is not necessary for salvation. If you have accepted Christ as your personal Lord and savior but have not been baptized, you are saved. But, Christ has also commanded us to be baptized, so if you haven’t been baptized, you should be. Baptism is a way for us to publicly proclaim our faith in Jesus, so that all can see the commitment we have made to be a follower of Jesus. If you haven’t been baptized and want to be, talk to your parents.
- As Jesus is in the water we see an incredible picture. The sky is torn open, the Spirit comes down onto Jesus, and God calls him his Son. This is an amazing picture of all three persons of the Trinity in the same place at the same time. In the Old Testament kings like David or prophets who did great work for God’s kingdom were said to have the Spirit of God on them, and now we see Jesus, this new Moses, the Messiah, with the Spirit of God descending on him. Then God calls Jesus his Son, affirming the claim that Mark already made in the first sentence of the book. God confirms that Jesus is in face the Christ, the Son of God, the new Moses, the one the people have been waiting for.
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
- Remember our Moses model. It is significant that Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days. And when he is there, he is tempted by Satan. We aren’t told in this account, but in the accounts of this story in other Gospels we see that Jesus defeats Satan and overcomes his temptations.
- Notice the second sentence. There are a couple random details. He was with wild animals? Angels were ministering to him? That seems kind of weird.
- In Isaiah chapter 11 there is this picture, much like the picture we talked about last week, where there is peace on the earth and all the nations are experiencing the glory of God. And in chapter 11 of Isaiah the peace extends to the animal kingdom. There is this long list of wild, predator type animals that are dwelling peacefully with domesticated, prey type animals. It is an image of the peace that the kingdom of God will bring, that even the animals can dwell together peacefully. And as Jesus is in the wilderness, he is hanging out with the wild animals. With the arrival of the kingdom of God, and its king, the peace is already starting to happen. Jesus is hanging out with the wild animals and experiencing peace on earth even in the animal kingdom because the king is here. It’s an awesome image.
- The other interesting part is the fact that the angels were ministering to him. We don’t have a lot of detail about what this looked like, but what is important to note is that in this battle against Jesus and Satan, Jesus has an army of angels at his side. Mark doesn’t say much about this, but this is a big deal. The king of evil and the earth is in a battle against the king of good and of heaven. This is a huge deal, and Jesus has an army of angels by his side.
- Even though we don’t have much detail about this story, we know that Jesus defeats Satan and overcomes temptation. And now, because Jesus has done it, so can we. Because of the cross of Christ and the Spirit within us we have the power to defeat Satan and overcome temptation.
- It is also important that Jesus was tempted and overcame temptation, because remember that Jesus is both fully man and fully God. He was tempted just like we are. He can say he has been there when we are going through temptation, and if Jesus didn’t overcome temptation he wouldn’t have been perfect, and if he wouldn’t have been perfect he couldn’t have been a substitute for us on the cross.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- After Jesus is baptized in the Jordan and tempted in the wilderness, he can proclaim the good news of God. He can say that the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. The king is here. The Messiah, the new Moses, the Son of God is here and he has brought with him the kingdom of God.
- This is a huge deal. This kingdom is better than the Promised Land. It is a kingdom of love and of peace. It is a kingdom where evil has no place. It is a kingdom with the power to defeat Satan and heal the sick. It is a kingdom where sins are forgiven and God can dwell with his people.
- The coming of the kingdom of God is a huge deal, and it’s a huge deal that had been anticipated and expected for a very long time. But now the time is fulfilled, the king is here, and he is bringing the kingdom of God.
- So this is a big, cosmic reality. But with this cosmic reality comes a personal responsibility. Jesus announces the kingdom, but then calls for repentance and belief in the gospel. With a kingdom comes a king, and this king is calling you and me to make a decision. Are you going to repent of your sins? Are you going to confess them and accept Jesus as your king? Will you be apart of the kingdom, or are you going to live in your own kingdom?
- If we want to be in the kingdom of God, if we want Jesus to be our king, then we must repent and believe. We must confess our sins and turn from them and believe the good news that God is saving his people from their sin. But sin doesn’t just go away. Our sin can’t just be forgiven, we can’t enter the kingdom for free. Our sin has to be dealt with. Consequences have to take place. Someone has to die.
- And if we choose to accept it, that someone is Jesus. Jesus can only proclaim that the kingdom of God is here, he can only be the king if sin is dealt with and in order for sin to be dealt with, someone needs to die. It should be us, but instead, the king says, “let it be me.” Jesus takes our sin on his shoulders and goes to the cross, dying a physical and spiritual death in our place, paying the price that is required to get into the kingdom of God. It’s free for us if we accept the gift of grace that Jesus is offering us.
- So we have a decision to make. Are we going to repent and confess our sins and believe in the gospel, or not? Our eternity rests on that decision.
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[a] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
- If you make the decision to follow Jesus, if you choose to allow Jesus to be your king and to enter his kingdom, your life will never look the same. Look at how the first disciples respond to the call to be apart of the kingdom of God.
- Would you be willing to leave your family in order to follow Jesus? If you had a job, would you give that up to follow Jesus?
- If you choose to follow Jesus you should be ready to leave immediately and go.