Dave Williams speaking on Mark 1:4-5. He spoke about the purpose of baptism, clarifying its significance and importance. Reminding us to put our hope and trust in God.
- The Gospel is good news. It is the story of deliverance from bondage of things of this world.
- Jesus is our salvation. It is in his name. His name means God saves. He alone is able to save us from Sin.
- Christ is a title. It means the anointed one. He was set a part for the task of saving our lives. He is our prophet, who guides, priest, who atones for our sin, and king, who rules over us.
- Jesus is God’s son. This is God here. Not just a man. He humbled himself to his creation so that we may be saved.
- Point #1 Jesus came to save you but he also came to change you.
- Point #2 The Gospel is the great equalizer
Mark 1:4-5 “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Origins for baptism in the old testament
- Baptism is actually a strange concept. Many of you have been baptized and know that the purpose fo baptism is to make public your faith in Christ.
- In fact, Peter, when explaining what a Christian should do after they are saved, says in Acts 2 that they should repent and be baptized.
- Repent from your sins, recognize that God died for your sins, and then be baptized. Make it public.
- It doesn’t save you, change you, make you more spiritual. It just makes something that is private more explicit.
- However, the question that needs to be ask is why we do it. What is the purpose of dunking ourselves in water as a sign to the world?
- Also, if that is what it was then why was John’s different? Look again: verse 4 says it was for repentance. Not a public declaration but as a way to understand that you need to repent. Turn from the way that you are going.
- It was different than what Jesus was asking his disciples to preach or what Peter instructed the early church to do. It was a different baptism and one that needs to be understood so we can have a better understanding.
- So first off we spoke last week that because of men’s decision to turn from God, in his own house, that God’s spirit left the temple. Therefore there wasn’t a way to deal with the sins so you would just carry these from one generation to the next.
- In fact when the temple was rebuilt in Ezra’s day there was great joy but great weeping because although the Temple was rebuilt God’s presence didn’t fill it like it did in Solomon’s temple or Moses’s tabernacle.
Baptism as a form of cleansing
- So what would you do if you are stuck with the sin with no way for it to come off of you?
- What the Jews did was go back to the law and see what solutions could be found there.
- They must have read Leviticus and saw that there was something else that could make them clean—not make them forgiven or holy but at least clean.
- The sin wasn’t going away but if gave them a way to deal with it until God came back.
- It was washing themselves in water. The Hebrew word for it is Mikveh.
- See what the priest would do was wash themselves before entering into God’s presence. Even though they sinned it gave a way for them to function inside God’s temple—in his presence. That is what baptism did. It didn’t save them but sustained them until the savior could come.
- It didn’t really work though because water, no matter how pure, couldn’t penetrate the flesh into the soul. It never really cleansed anyone.
Baptism as a form of coming into the family
- Baptism was also used to bring non-jewish people into the family.
- If someone wanted to be considered to be Jewish you could agree to be baptized by a Jewish priest and now you were seen as a Jew.
- Yet that didn’t quite work either because even if you were willing to be baptized you still were considered not quite Jewish enough. You were always classified as a second-class citizen.
- You will see many who came into the family of Israel but no matter what they did, even being baptized, they never were free of the title given from their homeland.
- Probably the most prominent figure was Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband who David took as his wife. He was always known as Uriah the Hittite.
- He was included in David’s mighty men, he faithfully served Israel but in spite of this he was still labeled a Hittite.
- So no matter how much water they used it couldn’t bring you into the family.
Baptism as a tool for repentance
- Mark 1:4-5 “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”
- When John proclaims would be seen as a radical idea. The idea that they need to be baptized would have stood in the face of what they already thought of themselves.
- See they already thought that they were the inside group not the outside ones. They were Jews not Gentiles. Why would they need to be baptized?
- They thought they were cleansed because of sticking to the laws they read. They don’t need to be baptized.
- They thought that if they could just be good that would be good enough. They thought that since there were born into the Jewish bloodline that it would be enough to save then that would be enough. And John is saying no to this way of thinking.
- We can’t do it.
- And so John is saying they need to practice Mikveh.
- This word Mikveh is the same word here being used in Mark 1 for baptizing.
- It has two meanings: The first is, a collection of water, the second meaning is something waited for.
- It is the same word used for Hope.
- Listen to what the Prophet Jeremiah wrote in chapter 17:13, “ O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.”
- Jesus became our Mikveh. He is our hope.
- 1 Timothy 1:1 Says this, “God our savior and of Christ Jesus our Hope.”
- Our Mikveh
- This is what John’s baptism was used for prior to Christ coming.
What is your Mikveh
- So what is your Mikveh?
- What do you put your hope in? Do you put in your abilities? Your good works?
- In your circumstances?
- God want’s to be our hope. He is what we can put our trust in.