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THE BAPTISM AND TEMPTING OF JESUS

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

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 by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.__Jesus-Baptism-04

In the previous post we spoke of John the Baptist’s work to prepare people for the arrival of Jesus.  Now in the space of three rapid verses, that is fulfilled and essentially John’s ministry is receding.  Other accounts emphasize John’s reluctance to carry out this baptism, which suggests that he had not anticipated doing so.  But this is the way that Jesus chooses to begin the public dimension of his ministry.

Why do you think Jesus chose to do so?

Note that God speaks directly on this occasion.  It is like God is placing His public stamp of approval on Jesus and his mission. It certainly is powerful confirmation.

Mark does not say here that anyone other than Jesus saw heaven opening and a dove descending, but the text here clearly suggests that an audible voice was heard–the Voice of God.

Imagine you are there on the banks of the Jordan.  You come seeking or perhaps out of curiosity to hear and see the Baptizer at work,  What would have been your reaction to these events, to the voice?

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Then, almost without a pause in action, the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness.  Luke’s account tells us in detail about the temptation of Jesus by Satan.  Here Mark merely reports that it has happened. What Mark does chose to report is the presence of wild animals and the protection and service he receives from the angels?

What do you understand is the purpose of the wilderness?  And why the mention of the angels?

In our next post on Monday, I will share my reflections on those answers; but in the meantime, be sure and post your thoughts on these questions via the COMMENT link.

STEVE

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