In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Mark 1:9 (NASB)

Picture  courtesy of Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing

Thoughts on Today’s Verse

While other gospels give considerably more detail of Christ’s actual baptism in the Jordan, Matthew lets us know that John the Baptist was reluctant to baptise the Lord Jesus – because John’s baptism was a baptism unto repentance, while Christ was without sin. He was the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God, Who would take away the sin of the world.

Matthew explains that Christ’s baptism was in fulfilment of a Levitical requirement. Jesus came to fulfil the whole Law, on our account. His baptism was not unto repentance, but in fulfilment of a Levitical law, to anoint God’s High Priest.

Luke further informs us that Christ was in prayer, when the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, in bodily form, like a Dove, and a voice from heaven declared, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.

Mark, however, adds to our understanding, by explaining some circumstances surrounding the Baptist, and Christ’s coming to him for baptism. John’s ministry was well known, for people throughout Judea were flocking to the river Jordan, to come back, in faith, to the God of their fathers.. confessing their sins, and undergoing his baptism of repentance.

Four hundred years had passed without any prophetic mouthpiece from God, but this silence was broken by the charismatic conduct, and challenging voice of John, crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord. This inspiring prophet of God was clothed with camel’s hair, wore a leather belt around his waist – and he ate a diet of locusts and wild honey.

But it was his riveting preaching that no doubt stirred the hearts of many, for he announced: After me One is coming Who is mightier than I. Indeed, I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. “I baptised you with water – unto repentance; but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit – unto redemption.

It was in the midst of all this eager anticipation, that Jesus appeared on the scene. Some suggest that the moment He arrived, He was immediately baptised by John. But on closer inspection we read that it was in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee.

It was during the time of John’s frenetic ministry that Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan. It was during all the excitement of John’s preaching campaign, that the Lord Jesus came from His home town of Nazareth – and went in and out among John’s faithful followers.

The Acts of the Apostles even implies that Jesus was there at the start of John’s ministry, for when choosing a disciple to replace Judas, Peter insisted: it is necessary that Judas’ replacement must have accompanied us all the time.. that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–beginning with the baptism of John, until the day that He was taken up from us, into heaven.

For thirty silent years God had been preparing the Lord Jesus Christ for His ministry of reconciliation, between God and mankind. Whatever Christ’s baptism signified – whether it was His identification with sinners, for whom He was to be the substitute; an act of obedience to His Father, in order to fulfil the righteous requirements of the Law; a presentation of Himself as the Messiah of Israel and Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world; an act of dedication to His God and Father, or simply a picture of His forthcoming death and resurrection – we know that in the days of John the Baptist’s ministry – Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptised by John in the Jordan.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You that He came to identify with sinners such as I, so that by faith in Him, I might be forgiven of my sins and clothed in His righteousness. Thank You that the Lord Jesus came to fulfil all righteousness, and lifted the curse of death, from all who would believe on His name. Thank You that He was obedient, in all things, even to death on the cross.. and thank You for the written word of God, which proclaims the end from the beginning. Help me to understand and apply all that You would teach me, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

Picture  courtesy of Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing

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