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Baptized Just Like the Rest of Us

The text this week is Mark 1:9-15.  This passage starts off the Lenten season by going back to the beginning of Mark’s account of Jesus, His baptism.  That seems fitting.  This is where our faith journey began for most of us anyway.  What might be surprising upon contemplation is why would Jesus need to be baptized at all.  It seems that Jesus is going to go through all the things that every person does.

Already He has been born, the same way we have been born.  He has been raised by parents the way most of us are.  Jesus then goes to the Jordan river where John is baptizing many.  This baptismal ritual that John is conducting is not without controversy, as this is a direct challenge to the Jewish temple authorities.  Obviously, Jesus will prove a much greater challenge to that authority, but it is notable that Jesus goes through the same process that everyone else does at the start of His ministry.

Tempted Just Like the Rest of Us

This “just like the rest of us” theme continues in verse 12-13.  Jesus is driven to the wilderness by the Spirit and is tempted by Satan for 40 days.  Mark’s account of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is very sparse compared to Matthew and Luke.  For Mark’s purposes it does not need to be a lengthy account.  The point is that we are all tempted, Jesus is not different in this regard.  Obviously, Jesus is different in that He does not succumb to this temptation, nor will He ever.  Yet, the salient point remains, Jesus knows what temptation is.  As will be made so clear throughout the account of Jesus’s earthly ministry, Jesus will experience everything that humans experience.  He will know what it is to feel joy, sadness, anger.  Jesus will work, play, and grieve, just like us all.  Nothing that we experience as humans is foreign to God through His Son, Jesus the Christ.

This fact should give us great comfort.  Ours is a God who loves us so much that He became one of us and experiences all that we experience.  He is not a distant God but a down to earth God that is right amongst us.

Now What?

Alright, ours is a down to earth God.  Now what do we do with this.  We trust the word of God, delivered through His Son Jesus.  We believe and use Jesus as a template to try and respond to God’s immense gift to us as best we can.  We will not be perfect as Jesus is perfect, but the truly astounding news is that we do not have to be!  All we need to do is go out and do the best we can to emulate the life that Jesus lived; one of sacrificial service to others.

Jesus lays it all out in the last passages of this text, Verse 15: “The Kingdom of God draws near.  Repent and believe the good news”.  In other words, believe then obey.

Praise Be to God

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