Throughout Advent, we posted blogs each week based on the Lectionary Readings for the previous Sunday. It was truly an awesome experience to travel through Advent with the universal church by praying, meditating, and responding to those texts. We loved it so much, we thought we’d do it again throughout Lent.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee. John baptized him in the Jordan River. Jesus was coming up out of the water. Just then he saw heaven being torn open. He saw the Holy Spirit coming down on him like a dove. A voice spoke to him from heaven. It said, “You are my Son, and I love you. I am very pleased with you.”
At once the Holy Spirit sent Jesus out into the desert. He was in the desert 40 days. There Satan tempted him. The wild animals didn’t harm Jesus. Angels took care of him.
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee. He preached God’s good news. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Turn away from your sins and believe the good news!” — Mark 1:9-15 (NIRV)
And so begins the ministry of Jesus.
Mark is an interesting Gospel writer. He’s always in a hurry. Moving the story from place to place and event to event as quickly as he can. Almost expressing the eagerness of the early church to get the Gospel spread as far as possible as fast as possible. Mark moves it so quickly that even the temptation of Jesus is not much more than a footnote to the story.
Mark doesn’t take time to tell us about Mary, Joseph, Angels, Shepherds, or Wise Men. Instead, he begins with John the Baptist–our wildman friend. Eight short verses to say, “Hey, here’s the guy, John, and he was baptizing people, and then…”
Yet, not only Jesus, but also the Father and the Spirit. Ten verses into Mark and we’re introduced to the Trinity. Mark establishes Jesus’ humanity and His divinity in one fail swoop. What John the Gospel-Writer takes 14 versus to do, Mark does in not many more than 14 words.
The Spirit descends, and the Father proclaims His pleasure.
And, here we are, two thousand years later at the beginning of our Lenten Journey to the Cross, and we remember our own baptism.
Baptism — and so begins our ministry. That outward sign of a inward change, our first testimony. Saying that through Jesus we are aligning ourselves with Him for the work of the Kingdom. Beginning our ministry.
Reflect on your own baptism for a moment. While it is not likely that you saw a Dove or heard a Voice, hopefully you know that the Father is delighted in you as well. Hopefully, you know that Father says, “This is my child, and I am pleased with them. I love them.”
And so began your ministry.