Sermon #2 Series: Mark
Title: The Baptism of the Master
Text: Mark 1:9-20
Readings: Office: Bobbie Estes Auditorium: Merle Hart
Subject: The Baptism and Early Ministry of Christ
Date: Sunday Evening - December 8, 1996
Tape # T-17
Mark 1:9-20 "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. (10) And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: (11) And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (12) And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. (13) And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. (14) Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (15) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (16) Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. (17) And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (18) And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. (19) And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. (20) And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him."
These few verses are typical of Mark’s writing. They cover a great amount of matter in a very brief amount of space. I will try my best to follow Mark’s example. While I have titled this message The Baptism of the Master, I realize that our text covers much more than just the exemplary baptism of our Savior. Within the scope of these twelve verses, Mark relates a brief account of the baptism of our Lord, his temptation in the wilderness, his earliest preaching, and the calling of his first disciples. We will look at each of these things in the order in which they are given.
Proposition: Our Lord’s public, earthly ministry began with him submitting to baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, that he might symbolically fulfill all righteousness and justify God.
I. The paragraph opens with a brief record of OUR LORD’S BAPTISM (vv. 9-11).
Mark 1:9-11 "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. (10) And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: (11) And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Baptism was not considered a light, insignificant thing by the Son of God. He walked all the way from Nazareth of Galilee to Jerusalem to be baptized by John. Why? I can give one very good reason, and only one. He knew it was his Father’s will! It was not convenient; but it was his Father’s will. It might not be understood by his family and friends; but it was his Father’s will. He might be ridiculed as a fanatic; but none of that mattered to him. It was his Father’s will for him to be baptized by John, so he came to John at Jerusalem to be baptized. There is much to be learned from our Master’s baptism. Let me direct your attention to just four things concerning it.
A. His Baptism was An Act of Humility.
Remember, we are talking about the Son of God, the Lord of glory. He comes to be baptized in that same river that Naaman despised. Not only does he submit to the ordinance, but he comes to John to observe it. He does not call John to come to him.
B. Our Savior’s Baptism was An Act of Obedience.
He had come into this world to do his Father’s will; and part of that will was this act by which, at the very outset of his public ministry, he identified himself with God’s prophet, his message, and his people.
There are many reasons for the practice of believer’s baptism. It is the answer of a good conscience toward God. It is a picture of the gospel. It identifies us with Christ, his people, and the gospel of his grace. But there is no reason more noble than this - The Lord commands it. Baptism is the believer’s first act of obedience to Christ as his Lord. And nothing is nobler in a servant than implicit obedience to his master.
C. Our Lord’s Baptism was A Very Meaningful, Very Significant Act.
Baptism is not an empty, meaningless religious ritual. It is now and as been from its inception a highly symbolic act. Though Mark does not give the details, both Matthew and Luke tell us the meaning and significance of baptism. Our Master’s baptism meant exactly the same thing that our baptism means.
1. Matthew tells us that our Savior insisted on being baptized “to fulfil all righteousness.”
Matthew 3:13-15 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. (14) But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (15) And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."
Obviously, baptism did not make the Son of God righteous! But it did signify the means by which he must establish and bring in righteousness for his people. As our Substitute, the Lord Jesus brought in and fulfilled all righteousness as Man by his perfect obedience unto death (Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 10:5-14).
Having perfectly obeyed the law of God, he was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. When he was made to be sin for us, he was slaughtered under the fury of God’s unmitigated wrath. When he was slain as our Substitute, he was buried in the earth. After he had been in the earth for three days, to prove that he had indeed fulfilled all righteousness and had put away our sins, he was raised from the dead. That is exactly what was pictured in his baptism; and that is exactly what is pictured in believer’s baptism today (Rom. 6:3-6).
2. Then Luke records our Lord’s later explanation of his baptism by John to have been an act by which he justified God.”
Luke 7:29-30 "And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. (30) But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him."
Again, baptism does nothing to make God just; but it is the symbolic confession that our God is and must be just. His justice must be satisfied; and our Savior, by his baptism, confessed that he would satisfy the justice of God by dying under the wrath of God as our Substitute.
We come to the waters of baptism for exactly the same reason - To confess our sins and to confess our faith in him by whose blood God can be both “a just God and a Savior.”
C. Our Lord’s Baptism was also An Extraordinarily Honorable Act.
It was an act by which he was publicly owned to be the Son of God in whom God the Father is well pleased. At his baptism, God the Father publicly announced his full, complete acceptance of the Son’s sacrifice as our Mediator, Surety, and Substitute.
There is a great wealth of spiritual instruction in these words - Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The text does not say, “with whom,” but “in whom I am well pleased.” That means that the Father is well pleased with all his people in his Son, by virtue of his obedience unto death, by virtue of his sin atoning sacrifice.
“With His spotless garments on,
I am as holy as God’s Son!’
Let every believer find comfort and assurance here. God looks on us in Christ. Looking on us in Christ, he sees no spot in us (Song 4:7). He beholds us in Christ as being clothed from head to foot with the garments of salvation, his robe of perfect righteousness, invested with his perfect merit, accepted in the Beloved,” and a people with whom he is well pleased”
Now, be sure you get this - It is at our baptism that believers are honored and publicly owned as the sons of God. Baptism does not make us the sons of God. But in the watery grave of baptism, as we there own our God when we are buried with Christ, so we are owned of God as his sons and daughters in Christ.
Galatians 3:27 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
II. Secondly, Mark gives s a brief description of OUR SAVIOR’S TEMPTATION N THE WILDERNESS.
Mark 1:12-13 "And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. (13) And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."
When trials, troubles, and temptations come upon you, do not imagine that some strange thing has happened to you. The Son of God was also tempted, in all points like as we are, yet without sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Hebrews 2:17-18 "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."
Hebrews 4:15-16 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Let me show you four things in these two verses. As they were true concerning our Lord, so they are true concerning us. May God be pleased to inscribe these four things upon every believing heart. You may not need them now, but as sure as you belong to and follow Christ, you will soon need to know these things.
A. Though he was tempted of the devil, he was still the Son of God and the Spirit of God was with him.
B. Though he as the Son of God, his temptations many, they were real, and they lasted a long time.
C. Though he was among wild beasts in the wilderness of temptation, he was under special divine protection, and the angels of God ministered to him.
D. Though he was tempted for forty days, tempted in all points of human weakness, and tempted among wild beasts, his temptations did come to an end.
In the light of these four facts, I want you to read some Scripture with me. I will not comment upon the texts we are going to read. I just want you to read them with me.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;"
James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."
1 Peter 1:2-9 "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
III. In verses 14 and 15 Mark describes THE PREACHING OF CHRIST.
Mark 1:14-15 "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (15) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
After John the Baptist was cast into prison for his bold preaching, the Lord Jesus came into Galilee preaching the very same thing that John had preached before him and his apostles preached after him. It is the message every gospel preacher is commanded of God to preach.
A. “Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.”
The long and short of that is this - Our Lord came pressing upon men the claims of God as their rightful sovereign, Lord and King, demanded that all who heard him submit and surrender to his dominion over them.
Matthew 10:39 "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
Matthew 16:25 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
Mark 8:35 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:24 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 17:33 "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it."
John 12:25 "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
B. Our Savior proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand.”
1. The fullness of time had now come.
Romans 5:6-8 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Galatians 4:4-5 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
2. The King of Glory had now come and the Kingdom of God was at hand.
The kingdom of God is that spiritual kingdom which is the church of God, the kingdom in which God rules by his Son through his Word.
C. The Lord Jesus commanded all who heard him, saying, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
This is what God requires of you and me: Repentance and Faith. The two always go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. This is what Noah preached in his generation and what Paul preached in his (Acts 20:21).
Repentance and faith were the foundation stones of Christ’s ministry. –Repentance and faith must always be the main subjects of every faithful ministers instruction.” - (J.C. Ryle)
1. We must repent.
2. We must believe the gospel.
Settle this issue. It is only by repentance and faith that we obtain peace. Church membership will not bring us to God. Baptism will not bring us to God. The priestly pronouncement of some man that our sins are absolved will not give us peace. The only way to peace is repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
These things are not one time acts, but a continual way of life. Believers turn to God with willing hearts, surrendering themselves to him in all things, looking to Christ alone for acceptance with him.
IV. The last thing to which Mark directs our attention in this passage is THE CALLING OF OUR LORD’S FIRST DISCIPLES.
Mark 1:16-20 "Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. (17) And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (18) And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. (19) And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. (20) And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him."
Mark does not describe the salvation of these men. Our text is not talking about the effectual call of grace, but about the call of believing men to the work of the ministry. Let me point out three things in these verses about our Lord’s first disciples.
A. Our Lord Jesus did not choose the great, the mighty, and the noble to be his disciples.
The church of God began with a few, simple fishermen, not with rich, well educated, influential men.
Zechariah 4:6 "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence."
There is an abhorrent notion among man that there is something noble about being rich and something shameful about being poor. We must never subscribe to that folly. Plain, ordinary, blue collar, working men were the men chosen of God to turn the world upside down. It is a disgrace to be proud, to be covetous, to be a drunk, a cheat, or a thief; but it is no disgrace to be poor.
B. Those who were called to the work of the ministry were occupied with and faithfully pursuing honorable careers when the Lord called them.
The trend in religion is this - A man announces his call to preach and then goes about figuring out a way to put himself in the ministry. That is totally wrong. God finds his preachers in the field tending sheep like Moses, or plowing corn like Elisha, or thrashing wheat like Gideon, or by the seaside mending nets. He never finds them sitting in a pew or Bible college waiting for a church to open up!
C. Those who are called by Christ to be his servants are called to be “fishers of men, men who fish for the souls of men.
1. Fishermen have purpose. - They go out to catch fish.
2. Fishermen must be very diligent.
3. Fishermen must be very patient.
I conclude my message to night with a request. I ask you to pray for me and for every faithful, gospel preacher you are privileged to know. “Who is sufficient for these things?” Yet, we know that “Our sufficiency is of God!”
2 Thessalonians 3:1 "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:"